Breast Reconstruction Surgery RecoveryJanuary 15, 2019
The breast reconstruction plastic surgery recovery process involves physical as well as emotional aspects. The recovery duration will depend on the surgical technique chosen and whether the reconstruction is performed in one or both breasts.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie MD provides breast reconstruction and other procedures to patients in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and surrounding locations. During the initial consultations, he will explain the estimated recovery process to the patient.
Estimated Recovery Period
The flap reconstruction technique typically involves a higher recovery time than the implant technique as healing needs to occur in two different sites of the body. The patient, on average, can expect to attain full recovery in around six to eight weeks after breast reconstruction cosmetic surgery.
In case complications occur or the patient chooses to undergo another procedure such as nipple reconstruction, the recovery period may be more extended. But in the hands of an experienced plastic surgeon, complications rarely occur. A majority of patients can resume their routine activities in around two to three weeks.
Immediate Post-Op Phase
The patient will experience soreness in the treated sites and some fatigue for the initial few days after the procedure. Furthermore, the patient may need to remain overnight at the hospital depending on the requirement to monitor their condition.
The surgeon will typically insert drains under the breast skin to eliminate excess fluid. The drains and sutures will be taken out together in one to two weeks.
Bruising, inflammation, mild pain, and soreness in the incision areas, and loss of sensation and numbness are some common symptoms during the initial recovery phase.
The plastic surgeon will prescribe pain meds to help the patient remain comfortable. The patient should follow the post-operative care guidelines in a committed manner for a rapid and smooth recovery.
Post-Operative Care Guidelines
- Take mild walks within the home a few times daily to enhance blood flow.
- Do not engage in aggressive exercise, lifting heavy weights, sports activities, and sexual activities for around four weeks.
- Change bandages routinely and keep the area dry
- Clean all wounds thoroughly
- When the wounds heal, massage the skin and scars in the treated area
- Use a firm and supportive bra without under-wires
The surgical technique will determine if mild scarring may occur in one or more of the below mentioned areas:
- Another donor site
In case of flap reconstruction, the patient will experience more scarring. Most scars will fade away over time. However, they will not disappear completely. For most patients, the cosmetic benefits of breast reconstruction are greater than limitations such as scarring.
It may take some time for a woman to adjust emotionally to the newly reconstructed breast. The new breast will not feel the same as the natural breast.
However, it will become much more acceptable over time. The patient can speak with other women who have undergone breast reconstruction previously to feel more reassured and confident about the procedure.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie MD receives patients from Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
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