What Is the Healing Process Like After Breast Reconstruction?

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When facing a mastectomy for breast cancer, patients understandably have questions about what to expect during and after surgery, including how they’ll look, how they’ll feel, and when they can return to their normal daily activities. The same is true when (and if) those patients undergo breast reconstruction surgery. At Mesbahi Plastic Surgery, board-certified plastic surgeon and top Washington, D.C. breast reconstruction expert Dr. Alex Mesbahi understands the delicate and personal nature of these questions and is committed to helping patients feel as comfortable and confident as possible before, during, and after their procedure. If breast reconstruction surgery is in your future, use the helpful information below to learn more about what you can expect during recovery, how long the healing process may take, and when you’ll begin to feel more like yourself once again.

Who needs breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction surgery is typically performed on women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy for breast cancer and wish to restore a more natural-looking bust.

What kind of breast reconstruction should I get?

There are quite a few different options for breast reconstruction surgery, each of which is designed for a specific situation. Because breast cancer surgeries and cases are extremely unique and vary from person to person, it is necessary to have a thorough consultation with Dr. Mesbahi and your breast cancer surgeon to formulate the safest, most appropriate, and most effective breast reconstruction plan for you. Some of the most popular types of reconstructive breast surgery include:

  • TRAM flap
  • DIEP flap
  • Latissimus dorsi flap
  • PAP flap

Breast reconstruction surgery may or may not include breast implants and may or may not require tissue expanders. Based on the method of breast reconstruction performed, how long it has been since the patient’s initial mastectomy or lumpectomy, and other factors, breast reconstruction surgery may be performed in multiple stages or, in some cases, a single procedure.

What is recovery like after breast reconstruction surgery?

Most patients will require 1 – 2 nights in the hospital or surgical facility following breast reconstruction surgery, after which time they will be discharged to begin the remainder of their recovery in the comfort of their own home. Drains will likely be in place for several weeks to prevent fluid buildup, and patients will need to wear supportive medical undergarments as directed. Bruising, swelling, and soreness are to be expected for the first 1 – 2 weeks, with most patients able to resume very light household activities after about two weeks. Heavy lifting, reaching above the head, and strenuous physical activity will be off-limits for up to 6 – 8 weeks.

After about two months, the majority of breast reconstruction swelling should have resolved, and patients will begin to see their new chest taking shape. It can take several more months – up to a year – for the tissues to fully heal and settle, however. This timeline may vary for patients whose breast reconstruction requires multiple surgeries. During your initial consultation and preoperative appointments for breast reconstruction in McLean, VA, Dr. Mesbahi will take ample time to discuss every aspect of your surgical plan in detail, including each stage of your recovery, so that you can head into your surgery feeling confident, prepared, and at ease.

Feel whole again with breast reconstruction surgery in Washington, D.C.

While nothing can replace your natural breasts exactly, breast reconstruction surgery has offered countless women the opportunity to restore a more feminine, complete look and boost self-esteem – and with a skilled and experienced breast reconstruction surgeon, it is more possible than ever to achieve a remarkably natural result. To learn more about what breast reconstruction can do for you, call Mesbahi Plastic Surgery in McLean, VA today to schedule your one-on-one consultation with award-winning board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alex Mesbahi.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.