Breast Reconstruction

Tissue Expander / Implant Reconstruction Post-operative Instructions

The following are general guidelines for post-op care after tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction. Click on available links for more detailed information. If you cannot find the information you need, please feel free to call the office at 312-266-6240 or email us at info@northwesternplastics.com.

After surgery, you will have dressings in place at the breast with an ace wrap around you. This ace wrap can be worn if comfortable, but does not need to be worn. Dressings can be removed 24 hours after surgery; steri strips should stay in place. You may wear any clothing after surgery that you find comfortable as long as it is not tight enough to leave marks on your skin. Generally, you will have two drains per side that come out under your arm. The hospital nurse will teach you how to care for your drains. Specific instructions regarding drain care can be found here. You may shower 24 hours after surgery; drains and the pain pump can get wet in shower. For tips on how to shower, click here. The pain pump can be removed usually 2-3 days after surgery when the inner balloon appears empty.

You will be prescribed medications after surgery. Pain medication, usually Norco, should be taken as prescribed in order to keep you comfortable enough to keep moving. Antibiotics should be taken after surgery until your drains are removed. We also recommend you take a stool softener while taking pain medications to avoid constipation. NEVER USE A HEATING PAD OR ICE on your chest after surgery to relieve pain or discomfort; this can lead to injury due to impaired sensation.

You can shower beginning 24-48 hours after surgery. Tips on showering and wound care

You may resume a normal diet after surgery.

You may resume normal daily activities the day after surgery; this includes activities that encourage full range of motion of the shoulder. Stretching immediately after surgery is recommended, and exercises with your arms are encouraged once the drains are removed. You may return to exercise two weeks after surgery, but avoid chest specific exercises or running or jumping until 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you can return to normal activity and exercise.

You may resume driving when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications during the day are able to sit comfortably behind the wheel and perform all motions necessary for safe driving. Always wear a seatbelt.

You can expect some minor swelling, numbness, and bruising of the breast. Wearing a soft support bra (or ace wrap), even at night, may help ease any discomfort, but is not required. Do not wear anything that is tight or uncomfortable. A garment that leaves marks on the skin is too tight. DO NOT use a hot water bottle or electric heating pad on your chest or abdomen until normal sensation returns as the risk for burns with the electric pad is substantially increased.

Usual hospital stay after tissue expander reconstruction is 1-2 days; average return to work is 2 weeks.

Contact the office if you develop a temperature above 101.5 F or develop spreading breast redness. For a more comprehensive list of expected versus concerning symptoms after surgery, click here.

Call our office to make a follow up appointment within a week of your surgery. To learn more about what to expect after you first stage surgery, click here.

Latissimus flap breast reconstruction

The following are general guidelines for post-op care after latissimus flap breast reconstruction. Click on available links for more detailed information. If you cannot find the information you need, please feel free to call the office at 312-266-6240 or email us at info@northwesternplastics.com.

After surgery, you will have dressings in place at the breast and on your back with an ace wrap around you. This ace wrap can be worn if comfortable, but does not need to be worn. Dressings can be removed 24 hours after surgery; steri strips should stay in place. You may wear any clothing after surgery that you find comfortable as long as it is not tight enough to leave marks on your skin. You will have three drains on the side of your latissimus flap that come out under the arm. The hospital nurse will teach you how to care for your drains. Specific instructions regarding drain care can be found here. You may shower 24 hours after surgery; drains and the pain pump can get wet in shower. For tips on how to shower, click here. The pain pump can be removed usually 2-3 days after surgery when the inner balloon appears empty.

You will be prescribed medications after surgery. Pain medication, usually Norco, should be taken as prescribed in order to keep you comfortable enough to keep moving. Antibiotics should be taken after surgery until your drains are removed. We also recommend you take a stool softener while taking pain medications to avoid constipation. NEVER USE A HEATING PAD OR ICE on your chest or back after surgery to relieve pain or discomfort; this can lead to injury due to impaired sensation.

You can shower beginning 24-48 hours after surgery. Tips on showering and wound care

You may resume a normal diet after surgery.

You may resume normal daily activities the day after surgery; this includes activities that encourage full range of motion of the shoulder. Stretching immediately after surgery is recommended, and exercises with your arms are encouraged once the drains are removed. You may return to exercise two weeks after surgery, but avoid chest specific exercises or running or jumping until 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you can return to normal activity and exercise.

You may resume driving when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications during the day are able to sit comfortably behind the wheel and perform all motions necessary for safe driving. Always wear a seatbelt.

Usual hospital stay after latissimus flap breast reconstruction is 2-3 days; average return to work is 4 weeks.

Contact the office if you develop a temperature above 101.5 F or develop spreading breast redness. For a more comprehensive list of expected versus concerning symptoms after surgery, click here.

Call our office to make a follow up appointment within a week of your surgery. To learn more about what to expect after you first stage surgery, click here.

Free TRAM, DIEP, SIEA Flap Breast Reconstruction

The following are general guidelines for post-op care after Free TRAM, DIEP, SIEA flap breast reconstruction. Click on available links for more detailed information. If you cannot find the information you need, please feel free to call the office at 312-266-6240 or email us at info@northwesternplastics.com.

After surgery, you will have dressings in place at the breast and abdomen. Dressings can be removed 24 hours after surgery; steri strips should stay in place. Continue to dress the belly button with vaseline or aquaphor and guaze until your follow up appointment. You may wear any clothing after surgery that you find comfortable as long as it is not tight enough to leave marks on your skin. You will have two drains at each breast and two at your abdomen. The hospital nurse will teach you how to care for your drains. Specific instructions regarding drain care can be found here. You may shower 24 hours after surgery; drains and the pain pump can get wet in shower. For tips on how to shower, click here. The pain pump can be removed usually 2-3 days after surgery when the inner balloon appears empty.

You will be prescribed medications after surgery. Pain medication, usually Norco, should be taken as prescribed in order to keep you comfortable enough to keep moving. Antibiotics and baby aspirin should be taken after surgery until you have completed the full course prescribed to you (this is usually 1 week for antibiotics and 1 month for Aspirin). We also recommend you take a stool softener while taking pain medications to avoid constipation. NEVER USE A HEATING PAD OR ICE on your chest or abdomen after surgery to relieve pain or discomfort; this can lead to injury due to impaired sensation.

You can shower beginning 24-48 hours after surgery. For tips on showering and wound care, click here.

You may resume a normal diet after surgery.

You may resume normal daily activities the day after surgery; this includes activities that encourage full range of motion of the shoulders. Stretching immediately after surgery is recommended, and exercises with your arms are encouraged once the drains are removed. You may return to exercise two weeks after surgery, but avoid chest and abdomen specific exercises or running or jumping until 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you can return to normal activity and exercise.

You may resume driving when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications during the day are able to sit comfortably behind the wheel and perform all motions necessary for safe driving. Always wear a seatbelt.

Usual hospital stay after free abdominal tissue reconstruction is 3-4 days; average return to work is 6-8 weeks.

The flap (area inside the circular incision) should be monitored for signs of adequate blood flow. It should be warm to the touch and should not appear mottled, purple, or feel cool. Should you experience these symptoms, please call the office immediately.

Contact the office if you develop a temperature above 101.5 F or develop spreading breast redness. For a more comprehensive list of expected versus concerning symptoms after surgery, click here.

Call our office to make a follow up appointment within a week of your surgery. To learn more about what to expect after you first stage surgery, click here.

Endoscopic Latissimus Flap Reconstruction

The following are general guidelines for post-op care after Endoscropic Latissimus Flap reconstruction. Click on available links for more detailed information. If you cannot find the information you need, please feel free to call the office at 312-266-6240 or email us at info@northwesternplastics.com

After surgery, you will have dressings in place at the breast with an ace wrap around you. This ace wrap can be worn if comfortable, but does not need to be worn. Dressings can be removed 24 hours after surgery; steri strips should stay in place. You may wear any clothing after surgery that you find comfortable as long as it is not tight enough to leave marks on your skin. You will have three drains on the side of your latissimus flap that come out under the arm. The hospital nurse will teach you how to care for your drains. Specific instructions regarding drain care can be found here. You may shower 24 hours after surgery; drains and the pain pump can get wet in shower. Tips on how to shower. The pain pump can be removed usually 2-3 days after surgery when the inner balloon appears empty.

You will be prescribed medications after surgery. Pain medication, usually Norco, should be taken as prescribed in order to keep you comfortable enough to keep moving. Antibiotics should be taken after surgery until your drains are removed. We also recommend you take a stool softener while taking pain medications to avoid constipation. NEVER USE A HEATING PAD OR ICE on your chest or back after surgery to relieve pain or discomfort; this can lead to injury due to impaired sensation.

You can shower beginning 24-48 hours after surgery. Tips on showering and wound care

You may resume a normal diet after surgery.

You may resume normal daily activities the day after surgery; this includes activities that encourage full range of motion of the shoulder. Stretching immediately after surgery is recommended, and exercises with your arms are encouraged once the drains are removed. You may return to exercise two weeks after surgery, but avoid chest specific exercises or running or jumping until 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you can return to normal activity and exercise.

You may resume driving when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications during the day are able to sit comfortably behind the wheel and perform all motions necessary for safe driving. Always wear a seatbelt.

Usual hospital stay after endoscopic latissimus flap reconstruction is 1-2 days; average return to work is 4 weeks.

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Contact the office if you develop a temperature above 101.5 F or develop spreading breast redness. For a more comprehensive list of expected versus concerning symptoms after surgery, click here.

Call our office to make a follow up appointment within a week of your surgery.