A woman’s journey after mastectomy is anything but simple. The recovery period is long and sinuous, and the toll this procedure can take on a woman’s self-confidence can run extremely deep. Fortunately, there is a way out of this nightmare. Breast reconstruction provides a chance for a normal life after a mastectomy. However, this procedure must be followed by attentive care to prevent infections or other associated conditions.
Here are some important things that you need to know about post-op care before you schedule an appointment with a Dallas Forth Worth breast reconstruction clinic.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Procedures and Their Requirements
There are currently two methods of breast reconstruction: with implants (silicone or saline) and autogenous reconstruction, where the doctors use the patient’s tissue. A plastic surgeon will take part in the entire process and provide patients with all the necessary information about the risks and benefits of each type of reconstruction. According to the American Cancer Society, depending on the procedure, the body can develop the following health problems after surgery:
- Necrosis (death) of the tissue used for reconstruction;
- Infection at the site of the surgery or where the donor tissue was removed;
- Various problems with the breast implant;
- Delayed wound healing;
- The need for follow-up surgery;
What Post-Op Entails
In most cases, patients can go home a few days after the breast reconstruction surgery. However, they may need to use drains to help discharge the fluids that may accumulate in the wound. Hygiene is essential during this critical phase to keep the wounds from getting infected. The hospital staff will explain to the patients how to take care of the drains and dress their wounds.
The recovery starts after the wounds heal. Scars may lessen in appearance after one to two years, but they will never disappear entirely. Also, women with breast reconstruction must ask their surgeons what type of bra they can wear, as some may press on the scar.
Another essential part of post-op care is exercise. The type of movements and activities patients can attempt differ based on the type of reconstruction they underwent. However, heavy lifting and strenuous exercise are not permitted for the first six weeks after surgery.
At Breast Reconstruction Associates, we strive to give women the best reconstruction surgery possible, using reconstructive microsurgery of the breast with perforator flaps. Call us or fill out our online form to get an appointment, whether you need primary reconstruction surgery or corrective interventions.