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Breast Reconstruction

Follow-Up Care for Breast Reconstruction

After you go home, you can expect some soreness, swelling, and bruising for 2 to 3 weeks. You may be asked to apply medications to the suture area or change bandages at home. Your plastic surgeon will advise you about showering, bathing, and wound care.

Most women return to normal activities within 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. It may be several weeks before you can do strenuous exercise.

The mastectomy and breast reconstruction will leave areas of numbness where the surgery was performed. Instead of feeling pain where the tissue was taken, you may feel numbness and tightness. In time, some feeling may return in your breasts. Most scars will fade over time.

The shape of your reconstructed breast will gradually improve over the months following the reconstruction.

You'll be asked to return for regular checkups at first. If you have a temporary expander implanted, it will be expanded with saline once a week, on average, until the desired size is reached (usually within six to 10 office visits).

You should continue to check your breasts every month and have an annual mammogram.

Breast reconstruction doesn’t change the chance of cancer coming back, and generally doesn’t interfere with treatment. If the cancer does come back, it can still be treated with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 10, 2015
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