Recovery from DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Most women who undergo surgery as part of their cancer treatment choose breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild their breasts and regain their confidence and self-esteem.

One of the most advanced breast reconstruction procedures out there is the DIEP flap. This procedure uses the skin and fat from the patient’s lower abdominal area to reconstruct the breast without affecting the abdominal muscles.

A week-by-week recovery process would look like this:

  • Week one will consist of at least three days of recovery spent in the hospital, where a nurse will take care of the drains and will implement the ERAS (Enhanced Recovery after Surgery) protocol. After three days, most patients feel comfortable enough to go home and adjust to their normal life. They can start some short-distance walking exercises to ease back into movement.
  • In the second week, the patient will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with their PRMA nurse. To increase their cardio endurance, it is advised that they incorporate some arm exercises into their routine. By the end of this week, patients can typically switch to a wireless bra and panty girdle from their surgical bra and abdominal binder.
  • During the third week, patients will start to feel much stronger and more capable of partaking in the activities that they were able to perform before the surgery. Alcohol is also permitted now, as well as other medications. The surgical drains will be removed, and patients can finally resume work, but from their homes.
  • As the month closes, patients will need to make another follow-up appointment, this time with their surgeon, to discuss how their recovery is going and plan the next steps. Patients should continue to increase cardio endurance and range of motion.
  • Week five will be the time when patients almost feel like normal again. They will start experiencing new pains in the breast and abdominal area, but they will pass away quickly.
  • The sixth and final week marks the end of all restrictions for patients, who can also completely return to work.

Recovery after a DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure can be less daunting than it actually seems. The ERAS protocols significantly reduce the discomfort a patient can feel after their surgery and can shorten the time spent in recuperation, helping them resume their lives as fast as possible.

If you are looking for a reputable breast surgeon in Fort Worth that you can entrust with this delicate procedure, get in touch with the experts at Breast Reconstruction Associates.

Sources:
http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/types/autologous/diep/what-to-expect
https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/recovery-after-diep-flap-breast-reconstruction