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What is the recovery from breast reconstruction like?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

The recovery from breast reconstruction depends upon the type of repair performed. Tissue expanders placed immediately after the mastectomy may cause stretching and burning discomfort for several weeks. Pedicled Latissimus Dorsi (back tissue and muscle) and TRAM flap (transverse rectus myocutaneous flap) may cause tenderness and pain for up to 4 weeks. Patients must refrain from heavy lifting for 6 weeks. Pain medications including Vicodin or Norco are given. Flexeril may be given for muscle spasm and tightness combined with ice compression. 

A patient can expect to stay in the hospital for four to five days after breast reconstruction surgery.

Women who have been given tissue expanders or breast implants most often experience discomfort for about a week. They can also expect two or three days of tenderness after each expansion.

Those who have had their own tissue used in the reconstruction can expect to have discomfort around their breasts and where the tissue was removed for two to three weeks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.