How Long Does It Take to Recover From Reconstructive Breast Surgery?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

Posted: May 7, 2020

Calendar for planning breast reconstruction recovery Recovery time after breast reconstruction depends on a number of factors. These factors include the chosen reconstruction technique, the need for tissue expansion, and the decision to undergo secondary shaping surgeries.

In fact, breast reconstruction is often more of a process than a single procedure. Because of this, recovery looks a bit different for everyone. Keep reading for a general idea of what to expect.

Your Hospital Stay

For staged implant reconstruction, you will likely remain in the hospital for 1 to 2 days following tissue expander placement. After the expanders have created a sufficient breast pocket, you will undergo outpatient surgery to remove and replace them with implants. That procedure will take place at Park Meadows Outpatient Surgery center. For direct to implant reconstruction without expanders, you can expect to go home from the hospital within a few days.

Meanwhile, autologous procedures like DIEP flap are more involved than implant procedures. Performed elsewhere, DIEP flap reconstruction often necessitates a 4 to 5-day hospital stay. We are proud to say that 95% of our DIEP flap hospital discharges are on the 2nd postoperative day!

After recovering from primary reconstruction, most women choose to undergo minor secondary procedures to achieve optimal results. These shaping procedures and techniques include fat grafting, nipple reconstruction, and areola pigmentation. All of these adjustments are done on an outpatient basis.

Return to Activity

In general, here is what you can expect when returning to activity after expander or implant placement. You may walk and climb stairs immediately. After two weeks, you can resume moderate activity. You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for six weeks. After six weeks, you may resume all normal activities.

Returning to activity after DIEP flap is very similar. However, there are a few differences because of the additional surgery at the abdominal donor site. For example, you must avoid standing straight at the waist for 1 week and avoid abdominal exercises for 8 weeks or longer.

We’re Here to Help. Call Our Lone Tree Practice Today

Your consultation is an excellent time to learn what you can expect during your individual recovery period. Call 303-706-1100 today to schedule a visit with our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons. The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery serves patients from Denver and Lone Tree, Colorado, and across the country.