One of the most important aspects of undergoing breast reconstruction surgery is being both mentally and physically prepared for your recovery. Treatment planning can be an emotional and potentially stressful time for patients, as well as the post-operative phase. To help make the process of breast reconstruction recovery as easy and comfortable as possible, Long Island, New York, surgeon Dr. Stephen t. Greenberg will guide each patient through what to expect, offering recommendations and tips. He will also conduct a series of follow-up appointments to check on your progress and address any concerns that arise.
Although the recovery period after breast reconstruction requires patience, some discomfort, and multiple weeks of downtime, patients can remain focused on healing by envisioning their final outcome.
Planning for Recovery
Depending on the type of reconstruction we recommend, using either implantsor your own tissue, complete recovery can take up to two months. Prior to undergoing surgery, patients should be well prepared both mentally and by making accommodations at home. For example, you should plan on stocking your fridge with nutritious foods. You should also reach out to family, friends, and caregivers since a good support system can help make the downtime and recovery less stressful and ensure your comfort.
Immediately Following Surgery
Immediately following the reconstructive procedure, patients will experience muscle soreness, swelling, bruising, and some level of discomfort. Drains may be inserted beneath the skin to facilitate healing, and Dr. Greenberg will provide instructions on how to keep the area clean. To further promote the healing process, we may recommend:
- Minor Activity: Proper rest is important during your recovery, but every two to three hours you should walk for a few minutes to encourage circulation.
- Elevating Your Head and Chest: Using pillows to prop yourself up can minimize swelling, as can elevating your knees if you have undergone a TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous) or DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap procedure.
- Medication: To minimize pain and discomfort, Dr. Greenberg will prescribe medication and explain instructions on their use prior to your procedure.
- Expanding Your Lungs: To prevent fluid from accumulating in your lungs, which can lead to pneumonia, it is important to take a series of deep breaths every hour. Patients should also try to cough a few times per hour, placing a pillow over their stomach to reduce discomfort.
- Light Eating: Patients should eat light foods such as jello, soup, and crackers for the first few days or until they can build up to more substantial and solid meals.
When You Should Contact Your Doctor
It is important to contact Dr. Greenberg if you are experiencing any type of intense discomfort, a high fever, severe nausea, vomiting, excessive bleeding, or fluid seeping from incisions or drains. These symptoms can indicate infection or other complications. You should also alert us of any unexpected reactions to medications or side effects that were not discussed in your pre-operative visit.
The Road to Recovery Leads to Stunning Results
Although the recovery period after breast reconstruction requires patience, some discomfort, and multiple weeks of downtime, patients can remain focused on healing by envisioning their final outcome. Dr. Greenberg and our staff understand how difficult this time can be for you and your family, so it is our goal to help you achieve a boost in confidence and return to the sense of normality you deserve. To learn more about the recovery process and schedule a consultation, please contact us today.