Breast reconstruction is surgery to rebuild the shape of your breast after you have had part or all of your breast removed because of cancer. It may also be done for women who have problems with breast development. Right after the surgery you will probably feel weak, and you may feel pain for 2 to 3 weeks. You may have a pulling or stretching feeling in your breast area. You can expect to feel better and stronger each day, although you may need pain medicine for a week or two. You may get tired easily or have less energy than usual. This may last for several weeks after surgery.
Stitches usually are removed in 5 to 10 days.
Your new breast may feel firmer and look rounder or flatter than your other breast. The new breast may not have the same shape as your breast did before it was removed. Breast reconstruction cannot restore normal feeling to your breast, but in time, some feeling may return. It may take several months for your breast to heal.
You may have surgery to create a nipple and the brown area around it a few months after your breast is reconstructed. Breast reconstruction can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence. Keep in mind that it may take time to get used to your new breast. You may want to talk with a counsellor if you need more support as you get used to your new appearance.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - Surgery, General Surgery, Oncology
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