A Answers (3)
Stuart Linder, MD, Plastic/reconstructive Surgery, answeredAfter breast reconstruction, the patient can hope for a more normal appearing breast after the mastectomy. Our goals, as plastic surgeons are to create both Normal appearance and regain symmetry with the contralateral unaffected breast. Breast reconstruction may be performed with prosthetic silicone implants, autologous pedicle flaps of tissue, or free-flaps using microvascular anastomosis. Unfortunately, on very advanced breast cancers (stage 4) often it is not possible to create an absolute perfect match to the opposite breast. In these cases we try to equate similar volumes for the brassiere at least.
For an expander/implant reconstruction, the hospital stay is usually overnight. For an autogenous flap reconstruction, the hospital stay is generally 4-6 days. Patients are usually walking the day after surgery. Narcotic pain medication is administered through patient-controlled pumps until the pain is reduced and patients can take pain pills by mouth. Recovery is about 1 to 2 weeks with an expander/implant, and about 3-8 weeks if a flap reconstruction is done.
Breast reconstruction surgery is usually done using general anesthesia, so you sleep during the procedure. When you wake up from surgery, you will have bandages over the surgery sites and you may wear a special bra that holds your bandages in place. You may have drainage tubes to collect fluid and keep it from building up around the surgery site.
If the implant was placed at the same time as your mastectomy, you may stay in the hospital for 2 or 3 days. If the implant is placed later, you will probably be able to go home the same day.
Most women have soreness, redness and swelling in the breast after implant surgery. You may need pain medicine for a week or two. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your incision. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection.
You may be able to go back to work or your normal routine in 3 to 6 weeks or sooner. Most women need to avoid strenuous activity for several weeks.
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