Breast reconstruction surgery is a major cosmetic surgery, and its post-operative recovery may involve both physical and emotional factors. The time taken for recovery is dependent on whether one or both the breasts have been reconstructed, and the kind of surgical technique that has used for the surgery.
Terrific and profound board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Farah Naz Khan provides breast reconstruction to patients in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding locations in The Lone Star State.
Time Taken for Recovery
In case the surgeon uses the flap method of reconstruction, the healing time will be longer as this technique encompasses healing in multiple sites. A patient typically recovers within six to eight weeks of the breast reconstruction procedure.
The recovery will be extended if another procedure such as nipple reconstruction is carried out in conjunction with the breast reconstruction. The healing time is also longer if some complications ensue after the cosmetic surgery. Patients should be willing to follow the surgeon’s instructions diligently for a fast and safe recovery. A majority of the patients can go back to their routine activities within two to three weeks.
In the initial period after the surgery, the patient will experience soreness in the treated areas and get easily tired. Post-surgery, temporary drain tubes will be positioned under the breasts to remove excess fluid. The sutures and drains may be removed at one time in about one or two weeks.
The bruising and swelling will slowly decrease from the second week onwards while the temporary numbness and loss of sensation in the surgical site may linger on for some more time. The surgeon will prescribe pain meds to ensure that the patient remains comfortable in the initial recovery phase.
The surgeon will provide comprehensive instructions for care after the surgery, and the patient should be committed to following these instructions carefully. These may include:
- Routine brief walks at home in the initial phase of the recovery to improve blood flow.
- No rigorous activities, lifting heavy weights, high-intensity sports or sexual activity for approximately one month.
- Ensuring that the incision site remains dry.
- Ensuring frequent change of bandages.
- Cleaning the wound area carefully to decrease the possibility of infection.
- Massaging the skin and scars after the area has healed.
- Avoiding under-wire bra and wearing a sports bra for several months as per the surgeon’s advice.
Depending on which surgical method is used, light scarring can occur in areas like the breast, nipples, navel, and in donor sites such as the abdomen, buttocks or back. Flap surgical technique will create more scarring. While the scars do fade over time, they do not become entirely invisible. The cosmetic advantages of breast reconstruction outweigh the shortcomings such as light scarring.
It is natural for a woman to need time to emotionally deal with the newly reconstructed breast. The patient should have realistic expectations and understand that the reconstructed breast will not feel similar to the natural breast.
With the passage of time, the appearance of the new breast will feel more normal. Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Farah Naz Khan receives patients from Dallas, Texas, and nearby areas in the monumental state of Texas for breast reconstruction surgery.