Discharge Instructions – DIEP Flap

  • Post op care after DIEP flap breast reconstruction

    • Drain care:
      • Strip, empty, record output, and recharge. See instruction sheet.
      • Keep daily log of drain outputs for each drain separately. Call the office to schedule an appointment when drain out-put is less than 30 mL over 24 hours for two consecutive days for any drain. See log form.
    • Incision care:
      • If Dermabond (skin glue) used - leave open to air.
      • If Steri-Strips used - leave in place until they fall off.
      • If Tegaderm (clear tape) – leave in place two weeks, remove if fluid accumulates
    • Unless instructed otherwise, wear a sports bra (non-underwire bra) at all times for two weeks and during activities for 6 weeks. See bra summary form.
    • Clean the umbilicus with soap and water daily.
    • Ok to shower.
    • Sleep in a recliner or on several pillows for the first two weeks. It’s nor-mal to walk ‘hunched-over’ for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery.
    • Walk a lot, stairs are ok.
    • No lifting greater than 10 lbs for 6 weeks.
    • Take an over-the-counter stool softener (ex. Colace) while taking nar-cotic pain medicine.
    • If constipation becomes an issue take Milk of Magnesia or Miralax until bowel function normalizes. Both can purchased over-the-counter
    • Do not drive while taking narcotic pain medicine or Flexeril (if pre-scribed).
    • Combining narcotic and Flexeril can be very sedating. If this is an issue, only take Flexeril at night.
    • If you find yourself taking scheduled narcotics beyond the first week start taking ibuprofen (600 mg every 6 hrs) to wean off the narcotics.
    • Expect to be run down for the first 10-14 days. By the end of the second week energy levels should be greatly improved.

    Activity restrictions and clarification:

    • Week 0-2 – No strenuous activity. Immediately after hospital discharge patients are expected to walk (including stairs), shower, and perform all normal activities of daily living.
    • Weeks 2-4 – Ok to do low impact activities that elevate your heart rate (ex. brisk walk or elliptical machine).
    • Weeks 4-12 – Higher impact activities are ok. No heavy lifting.
    • After 12 weeks – Heavy lifting can be done with caution. Sit-ups and core-straining activities shouldn’t be done until cleared by your surgeon.