Post Operative Care: Breast Reconstruction
TIMING OF THE EXPANSION PROCESS: Some patients wish to complete the process as soon as possible. Others wish to take their time or take a vacation in the middle of the process. These are individual decisions and do not have any medical effect. Please discuss any such wishes with Dr. Zubowski.
POSITION: Avoid direct pressure on the operative site(s).
DRESSINGS: Leave dressings in place until your first postoperative visit, unless otherwise directed by Dr. Zubowski or the nursing staff.
SUTURES: Breast skin sutures are usually removed between 7-21 days after surgery.
EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT: Avoid direct exposure of the operative area to sunlight until after the expansion and reconstruction of your breast(s) are completed.
ACTIVITIES: You may return to work as soon as you are comfortable in your job. Light exercise that does not cause discomfort in the operative area can begin after a week or 10 days. Please do not do aerobic exercise for approximately 3 weeks.
LONGER TERM POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS*
ACTIVITY/SPORTS: We want you to avoid straining or any aerobic activity for at least 3 weeks after surgery. This is to avoid bleeding, bruising, and swelling. Do not resume strenuous exercise for 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. Zubowski will give you clearance to increase your activities according to the progress of your recovery.
DRIVING: You may resume driving when you feel you are able, but wait at least 2 days after surgery. Keep in mind that you must have full use of your reflexes. If pain will inhibit them, don’t drive!
SEXUAL ACTIVITY: You may enjoy sexual activity as your body allows with the following restriction: please reread Activity/Sports above and apply the same concept to sex.
SUN EXPOSURE: If fresh scars are exposed to the sun, they will tend to become darker and take longer to fade. Sunscreen can help. Take extra care and precautions if the area operated on is slightly numb — you might not “feel” a sunburn developing!
WORK: Follow whatever plan you and Dr. Zubowski have agreed upon.