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Breast Reconstruction Surgery Recovery

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Recovery | Houston, TexasBoth physical and emotional aspects are a part of the recovery process for breast reconstruction plastic surgery. The time taken to physically recover from the plastic surgery depends on the surgical technique used to perform the reconstruction procedure.

Flap reconstruction often involves more recovery time than implant reconstruction as there will be healing in two areas of the body in the former.

 

Some Key Considerations

Patients can typically expect to recover fully within six weeks following surgery. But the recovery may be prolonged in case post-operative complications occur or if the patient chooses to undergo another procedure, such as nipple reconstruction.

Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides breast reconstruction patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding locations.

 

Immediately After the Surgery

For the first few days after breast reconstruction surgery, patients usually feel tired and experience soreness in the treated areas. Some patients may have to stay in the hospital for a day or two for monitoring in the initial recovery.

The surgeon will often insert drain pipes in the incision sites beneath the skin to eliminate excess fluid from the surgery area. These drains and any sutures will remain in place for one to two weeks. Patients can expect the following symptoms during their initial recovery period:

  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Scarring
  • Soreness at the surgical site
  • Numbness or sensation loss

To help the patient remain comfortable in the initial breast reconstruction surgery phase, the surgeon may prescribe her pain medication. After she is released from the hospital, the patient should follow the surgeon’s post-surgical guidelines carefully. This can ensure a speedier and safer recovery.

The surgeon may recommend the following to the patient for a safer and faster recovery:

  • Do not perform strenuous activities such as lifting objects overhead, engaging in sexual activity, or participating in sports for a few days
  • Clean all wounds properly
  • Change bandages often
  • Gently massage the skin and scars when the incisions have healed
  • Wear a firm, supportive bra without underwires

 

Post-Operative Scarring

Patients can expect to have scarring in one or multiple locations depending on the breast reconstruction technique chose. The areas where scars develop are the breast, abdomen, nipple, back, navel, buttocks, or another site from where tissues were taken to develop a breast mound.

Flap reconstruction leads to a bit more scarring than the implant reconstruction technique. This happens as the former involves two incision areas. While surgical scars will fade away over time, they are not likely to disappear completely.

 

Restoration of Normal Life

The breast reconstruction recovery phase differs for each patient. The patient should slowly return to her regular routine at her own pace. She should also be in touch with the surgeon’s office as well as attend all follow-up appointments.

The patient can gradually start her daily chores such as shopping, housework, or driving as the incisions heal. Patients who undergo breast reconstruction using the flap technique may need a little more downtime as this technique can weaken the abdominal or arm muscles.

 

Emotional Recovery

Many patients may require time to adapt emotionally to having a reconstructed breast. Breast reconstruction can restore the cosmetic appearance of the breast. However, the breast will not appear or feel exactly the same as the natural breast.

Patients usually find it reassuring to speak with other women who have undergone breast reconstruction or to a mental heal professional. Female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713-799-9999 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Procedure Steps

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Procedure Steps | Houston, TexasBreast reconstruction plastic surgery can be undertaken using various techniques. Depending on the technique chosen and if the surgery is performed along with a mastectomy or later, the steps of the plastic surgery procedure will vary.

During the pre-operative consultation, the surgeon will discuss the procedure steps to inform and reassure the patient on what the surgery process will involve.

Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides breast reconstruction patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding locations.

 

Anesthesia

Breast reconstruction surgery is a significant procedure and is typically performed with the patient under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the patient will not be awake and will not feel any pain or have any memory of the surgery regaining consciousness.

The patient’s health condition and history of drug allergies will also be reviewed before she is deemed fit to receive anesthesia.

 

Incisions

Once the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will initiate the reconstructive plastic surgery procedure by placing the incisions in a targeted and inconspicuous manner. The surgical techniques used will determine the size and location of the incisions.

The flap technique involves a greater number of incisions as tissue relocation between areas is involved. The implant method will require fewer incisions. The type of technique chosen and the size and number of incisions will impact the time taken to recover as well as the level of scarring.

 

Developing New Breast

As decided during the surgical planning stage, the surgeon will develop the breast mound using either the implant or flap method.

Implant Reconstruction

This procedure takes place in various stages. At the outset, the surgeon will place an expander beneath the skin and chest muscle to expand the area.

After that, they will add liquid to the expander over the next few weeks and months to stretch the skin enough to hold the implant. Saline or silicone implants will be placed when the skin has stretched appropriately.

Sometimes, the surgeon may perform both these steps simultaneously. To eliminate the need for the second stage of the procedure, permanent skin expanders may be used as implants. The surgeon will develop the optimal treatment approach in close discussion with the patient.

Flap Reconstruction

In this technique, the surgeon will remove excess tissue from a donor area and relocate it to the breast region. The blood vessels in the tissue that has been relocated will be re-attached to new ones in the breast. The surgeon will use the new tissue to create the breast mound. In certain cases of flap reconstruction, an implant may also be placed.

 

Bandages and Sutures

After the surgeon creates a natural and symmetrical looking breast mound, they will seal the incisions using sutures and dress them with bandages. The surgeon will provide them with comprehensive guidelines for sutures and bandages to reduce the possibility of infection development.

The patient should avoid putting any strain in the incision sites for six weeks after the surgery to enjoy a safe and rapid recovery. In the case of conventional sutures, the surgeon will remove them in around a week to 10 days after the surgery.

Female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713-799-9999 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.

Preparing For Breast Reconstruction

Preparing For Breast Reconstruction | Houston, TexasBreast reconstructive plastic surgery is a significant procedure and one that involves an extensive treatment and recovery process.

The patient should be willing to commit the necessary time for this procedure. The surgeon will offer the patient detailed preparation instructions for the reconstruction surgery.

Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides breast reconstruction patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding communities.

 

Breast Reconstruction Surgery Preparation

The patient will need to follow the below mentioned preparatory steps before the breast reconstruction procedure:

  • Get certain tests done such as chest x-ray, specific blood tests, and an electrocardiogram. Sometimes the surgeon may also order specialized mammograms for the patient as well.
  • If the patient smokes, she will need to discontinue smoking at least one month before the breast reconstruction to allow proper healing.
  • Not use blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, and specific vitamins and herbal supplements that may lead to bleeding.
  • Change the schedule of prescription medications in consultation with the prescribing doctor.
  • Stay properly hydrated for many days before and after the surgery for best results.
  • Increase the consumption of lean proteins as well as have a balanced diet for several weeks before the surgical procedure.

 

At-Home Preparation

If the patient makes some advance preparations before the breast reconstruction surgery, she can transition seamlessly from the surgical venue to her home. These preparatory steps include:

  • Ensure that essential items at home are placed within convenient reach because the patient will not be able to raise her hands for some days following the surgery.
  • Arrange for frozen food or ask someone to help prepare meals for the initial few days of the recovery period.
  • Do not lift weights heavier than five pounds for at least six weeks after the surgery. The patient should seek help for such tasks in the initial few weeks following the procedure.
  • Purchase essential items and clothing before the surgery.
  • Undertake any important home or work-related tasks prior to the procedure to enjoy a relaxed and comfortable recovery period.

 

Loose Clothing

The patient may be unable to wear a top that pulls over her head for a few days after the breast reconstruction procedure. Therefore, it is a good idea to arrange for some loose front-open sweatshirts and shirts ahead of the surgery. Sweatshirts with internal pockets can be helpful for the storage of drain tubes.

 

Other Suggestions

Prior to the surgery, the patient should place some extra blankets and pillows on her bed. In addition, she may set-up a recovery station by her bedside on a nightstand with vital items such as remotes, mobile phone, a medicine box, and a handheld mirror.

She should also range for some measuring cups in the bathroom for drain pipe evacuation as recommended by the surgeon. On top of this, the patient should arrange for aftercare depending on her particular needs to enjoy a stress-free and relaxed recovery phase.

 

Aftercare and Transportation

Breast reconstruction surgeries are usually performed on an outpatient basis. For this reason, the patient should ask someone responsible to drive her back after the surgery. In case the patient has small children at home, it’s sagacious to arrange for someone to take care of them for a few days.

Certainly it’s wise to have a close friend or relative know about this so if you need help afterward they are not hard to reach or taken by surprise.

Female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713-799-9999 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.

Breast Reconstruction Risks And Safety

Breast Reconstruction Risks And Safety | Houston, TexasBreast reconstruction plastic surgery is a complex procedure which involves certain risks, similar to any other surgical procedure. The surgeon will explain the potential risks related to the procedure to the patient to allow her to make an enlightened choice during the pre-op consultation process.

Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides breast reconstruction patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding locations.

 

Short-Term Risks

Poor Reaction to Anesthesia

The surgeon will typically undertake breast reconstruction plastic surgery with the patient under general anesthesia.

Patients with circulation, heart, or nervous system related pre-existing health conditions are at a greater risk for the development of complications.

The patient should freely discuss her complete medical history with the surgeon so that appropriate decisions can be made. Patients usually experience side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision upon gaining consciousness.

Infection

There is an inherent risk of infection in every surgery, including breast reconstruction surgery. The surgeon will prescribe antibiotic medications for infection prevention or treatment. In case there is a persistent infection after the reconstruction procedure, the patient should promptly reach out to her surgeon.

Excessive redness or color changes around the breast incision, discharge of fluid or pus from the area of the surgery, or a high fever are some signs of infection following this surgery. The risk of infection can be reduced by maintaining a sterile environment.

Bleeding

The patient may experience an increased risk of bleeding during or after the reconstruction procedure if she is presently taking blood thinners or other medications that can affect blood clotting or she has a history of bleeding.

The surgeon will ask the patient to not use certain drugs for at least two weeks prior to the surgery to reduce the risk. In case the patient experiences excessive bleeding during the recovery period, she should contact the surgeon promptly.

 

Long-Term Risks

Following breast reconstruction surgery using implants, the patient may experience complications due to capsular contracture, deflation, leakage, or damage to the implant at any stage. The complications associated with the flap technique involve a longer recovery phase and blood clotting.

Patients should assess their options carefully and identify the most appropriate surgical technique for them in consultation with their breast surgeon. At times, patients may experience vascular complications in the long-term, including:

  • Restricted blood flow to the reconstructed breast
  • Relocated tissue failure leading to dead tissue
  • Reduced abdominal strength
  • Weakness in the back, arm, or shoulder

 

Scarring

Depending on the breast reconstruction technique used, the scarring will differ. Patients undergoing flap reconstruction will experience more scarring than an implant reconstruction procedure due to the fact that both these techniques involve distinct incision areas.

The flap reconstruction technique may involve the development of scars in donor areas such as the back, navel, buttocks, abdomen, or another area along the nipples and breasts. However, an experienced surgeon will place the incisions such that the scarring is as inconspicuous as possible.

A majority of patients find that the benefits of breast reconstruction outweigh certain side-effects such as scarring. Female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713-799-9999 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.

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