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The Ohio State University Plastic Surgery
915 Olentangy River Road, Suite 2140
Columbus, OH 43212
Ph: 614.259.7920
Fax: 614.293.9024

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Breast Reconstruction Recovery: What to Expect

woman in recoveryAt the Ohio State University’s Breast Reconstruction Center, our experienced doctors offer several different approaches to breast reconstruction, including implant reconstruction, Latissimus Dorsi Flap surgery, DEIP Flap surgery, TRAM Flap surgery, GAP Flap surgery, S-GAP Flap surgery, and SIEA Flap surgery. Although recovery from breast reconstruction will depend on a number of different factors – including the specific technique utilized as well as your body’s natural healing process – the following can give you a general idea of what you may be able to expect following surgery.

The recovery process for implant breast reconstruction will vary based on the timing of the procedure (during or after mastectomy) and whether or not tissue expansion is necessary. In most instances, patients can generally expect to rest at home for about two weeks before returning to non-strenuous jobs and/or school, and the majority of women are able to fully resume all activities after about four to six weeks.

In comparison to implant breast reconstruction, patients who undergo Flap reconstruction may experience a longer period of recovery and downtime. This is because Flap reconstruction techniques involve the removal and relocation of donor tissues/muscles from one area of the body to the breasts, essentially creating two areas of operation. While the recovery process for Flap reconstruction will vary based on the specific approach employed (e.g. Latissimus Dorsi, DEIP, TRAM, etc.), most patients should plan on several weeks of rest to provide ample time for the new breast(s) and donor region to heal properly.

Regardless of the breast reconstruction technique utilized, some swelling and/or bruising in the breasts – and donor region, if applicable – may occur. These side effects should diminish over time, though it may take approximately eight weeks for bruising/swelling to fully subside. Any pain or discomfort experienced throughout the recovery process can generally be managed effectively with medication.

Ultimately, as previously stated, the recovery and downtime following breast reconstruction surgery will vary by individual. By scheduling a consultation at our Breast Reconstruction Center, our doctors can provide a personalized outline of what you may be able to expect after thoroughly assessing your needs and presenting all your available options.

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If you are interested in scheduling a consultation at OSU’s Breast Reconstruction Center, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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