Women undergo breast reconstruction surgery for many reasons, but reconstructive surgery is a substantial procedure that carries risks, side effects, and a lengthy recovery. As a result, it is best to know what to expect during each phase of the breast reconstruction recovery process in Virginia Beach.

The recovery process is similar for both breast reconstruction with implants or using free flap reconstruction. Since the surgery is invasive, the recovery process generally has three phases over one year. Schedule a breast reconstruction consultation with our knowledgeable surgeons at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery to learn more about the recovery process.

First Days of Breast Reconstruction Recovery

Whether a patient chooses surgery with free flap techniques or implants influences the first few days of breast reconstruction recovery in Virginia Beach. Patients receiving breast implants at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery typically need one to two days of hospital recovery before release, while free flap patients may need more than a week.

Immediately after surgery, moderate pain and discomfort are normal but are manageable with medication. In addition, patients have bruising, swelling, and tenderness around the breasts, while small drainage tubes prevent fluid buildup. Wearing an elastic band or support bra may help reduce your swelling by supporting breast tissue as it heals.

Four to Eight Weeks After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

For example, it is essential to avoid activities that place excess pressure on the chest during the first eight weeks of recovery.

Actions that may strain the healing skin, tissue, and incisions include strenuous exercise, overhead lifting, raising the arms above shoulder height, and some sexual activities. Most patients return to their daily activities, including work, after two months of recovery, as most of the residual bruising, swelling, and pain subside at this point. In addition, if deemed safe, more strenuous activities may be resumed at this stage of the recovery process.

Three Months to One Year After Breast Reconstruction

The next stage of the breast reconstructive recovery process in Virginia Beach is nipple reconstruction if a patient chooses, as not all have the procedure. However, nipple reconstruction could help breast reconstruction results look more like a patient’s original breasts.

One option for nipple reconstruction is a tattoo on the breast in a color that will match the original nipple. Alternatively, a patient may receive new nipples constructed with tissue from another body area or donor tissue. Though the results of this approach are more realistic, it requires an additional procedure to position the nipples on the breasts.

At the same time, if minor adjustments for cosmetic reasons are necessary, a patient may have an additional yet more minor surgical procedure. One year after surgery, most breast reconstruction patient’s scars substantially fade and regain lost skin and breast sensation. Additionally, cosmetic results may subtly change for up to a year after surgery but typically finalize at this stage.

Learn More About Breast Reconstruction Recovery Steps in Virginia Beach

Treating breast cancer could significantly impact your breast shape, size, and volume, making surgical correction necessary. Since the procedure is significant, preparing for the breast reconstruction recovery process in Virginia Beach is helpful.

After reconstruction, your recovery could take several months before residual side effects subside and you feel back to normal. However, the results could significantly boost your self-confidence after breast cancer treatments. Schedule a breast reconstruction consultation at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery to learn more about the recovery process expectations.