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What Should You Expect After Having Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction can help many patients feel more confident about themselves, along with improving the balance and proportions of their bodies. While many patients look forward to their results, they also wonder what the recovery phase will be like after having breast reconstruction surgery and how it may be similar or different to what happens after other types of breast surgery. Our team hopes that this explanation of post-breast-reconstruction concerns our St. Louis-based physicians frequently get asked about will help to clear up a lot of the confusion. 

FAQs about Post Breast Reconstruction 

How Long Is Recovery After Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction with fat grafting often has a longer recovery time compared to breast reconstruction done with implants. It can take six to eight weeks before patients feel ready to resume their normal activities again. 

Are There Any Side Effects? 

Side effects are more likely to occur after breast reconstruction than if you’ve just had a mastectomy on its own. Patients may experience bruising and swelling for up to two months after the surgery. Note that normal feeling won’t be restored to the breast after reconstruction. 

How Soon Will I Be Able to Start Exercising Again? 

You shouldn’t engage in heavy exercise for at least eight weeks post surgery, especially if you’re experiencing fatigue, anemia, or have a low platelet count. Don’t resume exercising until you get your surgeon’s approval. Avoid lifting heavy objects while you’re healing. 

What Can Patients Do to Heal Faster? 

Your diet will have an impact on how quickly you heal, so be sure to get plenty of protein. It’s also important to get enough quality sleep. Walk each day to prevent blood clots. 

Is Physiotherapy Helpful After Breast Reconstruction?

Physical therapy may be helpful after breast reconstruction, as it can help patients enhance their shoulder’s range of motion, improve mobility, adjust to physical limitations, find out how to perform everyday tasks safely, and strengthen donor areas where tissue may have been removed. Our team will advise you on some simple physical therapy exercises you can do while you’re recovering. 

Want to find out more about recovery and aftercare after breast reconstruction or other plastic surgery procedures? Talk to our team for further advice on care. Contact West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University by calling us at (314) 996-8800, or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation.