Recovery Time for Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

Usually the breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy is performed in a hospital setting. This may be followed by a short period of stay in the hospital. Follow up procedures are performed in order to ensure proper recovery from the surgery. Proper precautions are to be taken by the patient and the caregiver for a speedy recovery.

Recovery Time for Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

The recovery period for breast reconstruction after mastectomy depends on the type of reconstruction surgery done by the surgeon.

Recovery Time for Implant Breast Reconstruction Surgery After Mastectomy: In case of implant based reconstruction surgery, the patient has to stay in the hospital for around two days after the surgery. The surgical sites should heal by the third week. The patient may be able to return to work by the fourth week.

Recovery Time for Autologous Tissue Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy: In case of autologous tissue breast reconstruction, the surgery itself may take about 8 to 10 hours depending on one or two sides. The patient has to stay in the hospital for five days after the surgery for observation. The recovery procedure may require three to four weeks. All subsequent follow-ups are done according to the advice of the doctor.

What are the Various Forms of Breast Reconstruction Surgery Done After Mastectomy?

The forms of breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy involve:

Implant Reconstruction: Implant reconstruction which involves insertion of an implant filled with saline water or silicone gel. Sometimes it may have a combination of the two.

Flap Reconstruction: Flap reconstruction involving tissue transplant from another part of the body such as abdomen, thigh or buttock.

What Happens During The Period Of Recovery From Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

The recovery process after breast reconstruction surgery includes some changes which the patient gradually has to get used to-

Soreness: The patient may have a feeling of tiredness or soreness for a week or two after the surgery. If the patient undergoes a flap procedure, the tiredness might stay for a longer period of time because of two surgical wounds. Medicines will be given to control the pain.

Patient Discharge Time: The patient might be able to go home within few days of the surgery depending upon the type of operation taken place.

Drain: There might be a possibility of discharge with one or more drains in place. A drain basically is a small tube placed in the wound to remove extra fluid from the surgery site as it heals.

Instructions: In most of the cases, the fluid drains into a hollow ball and the patient is taught how to empty the ball in the hospital. The instructions given by the doctor is to be followed with respect to wound and drain care.

What are The Risks After The Breast Reconstruction Surgery Which One Should Be Aware Of?

The potential risks after the breast reconstruction surgery may be varied. Some of them include:

  • Death of tissue of a part of tissue flap, skin or fat.
  • Absence of or changes in the sensation of nipple or breast.
  • Problem of uneven breasts.
  • Loss of muscle strength.
  • Changes in the arm on the side of the reconstructed breast.
  • Need for immediate special surgeries to fix problems that come up accordingly.

Why is a Drainage Tube Used After the Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

Once the breast reconstruction is completed, the surgeon may attach temporary drainage tubes to the reconstructed breasts. This is done to ensure that in case of excess leakage of fluids, it will have a place to go during the process of healing. Once this is done, the chest is will be wrapped with the help of a bandage. It must be remembered that these tubes are temporary and will be removed once the healing process is completed.

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