It is very common for women to want to know what the recovery is like after breast reconstruction surgery. This is especially a concern for women who are considering having an immediate breast reconstruction while receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments for breast cancer. The physical and mental challenges that come after a diagnosis are overwhelming – adding reconstructive surgery to the mix can be very intimidating.
Recovery steps are similar for both immediate breast reconstruction surgery or surgery months or even years after a mastectomy. Some of these include the following:
- Oncologists will follow a patient from diagnosis to recovery. It’s important to follow their direction carefully, especially with a breast cancer diagnosis. The oncologist will partner with your breast surgeon to ensure everyone is informed and on the same plan.
- Dr. Comizio will provide detailed post-operative instructions. It’s important to follow them exactly. Dr. Comizio has years of experience performing the many types of breast reconstruction surgeries available to women and tailors her post-operative instructions to each one of her patients.
- Pain medications should be taken exactly as prescribed. It’s common to experience discomfort after breast reconstruction surgery. This is especially true of flap reconstruction patients, who have had surgery performed on two separate sites.
- Avoid lying on the stomach when recovering from breast surgery. It will put too much pressure on newly reconstructed breasts, whether they were reconstructed with implants or body tissue. It is recommended to lie on the back, propped with pillows or in a recliner.
- Resting is a priortiy. Dr. Comizio typically advises a patient to take between 4 and 10 weeks of rest and time away from work or other daily activities. Resting and recuperating according to the recommendation is very important for proper healing. Trying to return to normalcy too quickly can detriment the success of the surgery.
- Avoid heavy lifting for 10 weeks, including small children. The time required to avoid lifting things will depend on the type of reconstruction surgery performed. If implants were placed, the timeframe may be sooner. Abdominal flap surgery, especially if the muscle has been cut, will require more time for healing.
- Avoid getting the surgery site wet. Taking a shower, bath or swimming in a pool too soon after reconstruction surgery may affect the body’s ability to heal wounds and inadvertently introduce bacteria to the incision sites. Dr. Comizio will inspect the incision and give approval when it’s time.
There are many questions that come with breast reconstruction and the recovery process. Dr. Comizio offers one-on-one consultations in her Morristown office. To schedule an initial breast reconstruction appointment simply call (973) 775-9248 or fill out a consultation request on the website: drreneecomizio.com