Immediately following your breast reconstruction surgery, your doctors and nurses will provide you with critical care. However, it doesn’t end there. Your self-care after being discharged from the hospital is just as important, and should not be brushed off or taken lightly!
Recovery from Perforator Flap Reconstruction can take from 6 to 8 weeks, so in between appointments with your doctor, you have a responsibility to participate in your own healing process. Your doctor should give you a comprehensive after-care plan, including what to expect, and steps to follow while you recover at home. Note: Your doctor will assign you specific guidelines based on your individual procedure and health needs. However, listed below are a few common items to consider during your recovery from breast reconstructive surgery.
Tips for Post-Breast Reconstruction Self-Care
- Avoid caffeine and chocolate for 30 days, as they constrict blood vessels, and therefore restrict the delivery of blood to the site of the wound. This also includes decaffeinated coffee and tea… they also contain caffeine! Tea labeled “caffeine free” can provide an alternative in the meantime.
- Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are big no-no’s (as they are following most surgeries). Similar to caffeine, nicotine can decrease blood flow to the flap, making healing more difficult.
- Try not to lift anything weighing greater than 5 pounds, raise your arms above your head, or begin stretching exercises until cleared by your doctor. It usually takes about 6 weeks to 2 months to regain your energy level and resume normal activities. This article may provide you with more helpful information about post-breast reconstruction activities.
- Bruising and swelling may continue for up to 8 weeks, so be gentle with your body!
- With Perforator Flap procedures, you may be instructed to wear a bra until drains are removed, or until permitted otherwise by your doctor.
- Nutrition plays a huge role in your recovery. Increasing your protein intake before and after surgery will aid in the healing process.
- The level of sensation to the breast depends on the individual, and is often not immediate, if at all. If sensation does not return early on, it is still possible that it may come back partially, or even fully, over time. Keep in mind, however, that many women may never regain feeling in their breasts post-surgery.