5 Things to Consider If You’re Thinking About Breast or Mastectomy Reconstruction Surgery
Before scheduling your mastectomy reconstruction surgery, you should learn about important details such as the typical breast surgery recovery time, types of surgeries available, and possible non-surgical alternatives. Surgery can be physically and mentally stressful, but knowing the facts will help you feel more at ease.
5 Tips to Prepare For Breast Surgery & Recovery Time
1. There Are Two Main Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries
If you’re preparing for breast surgery, you should be aware of your options. After a mastectomy, many women opt for reconstruction procedures that restore their breasts to their original shape and size.
Mastectomy reconstruction surgery can be done using either breast implants made from silicone or saline or by using natural skin, muscles, fat, and tissues from other parts of your body. Some surgeons may recommend a combination of both methods depending on your needs and goals.
Both techniques have their unique pros and cons. For example, breast augmentation procedure is less invasive, so the surgery recovery time tends to be quicker. However, the results may not look as natural as reconstruction surgery that uses your body tissues.
Here are some of the most common factors a surgeon will consider when determining the best approach:
- The location and size of the breast cancer.
- Your natural or intended breast size.
- Any pre-existing health conditions (including smoking).
- Whether you had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.
- If you’re using other non-surgical cancer treatments.
- Your pre-surgery weight.
- How important symmetry is to you.
- Whether you’re having surgery on one or both breasts.
- If you’re willing to have multiple surgeries.
- How much surgery recovery time you have available.
- The potential effects of the surgery on other body parts.
2. You May Need Multiple Surgeries
Many women have mastectomy reconstruction surgery performed during the same procedure as their mastectomy; however, you can undergo reconstruction surgery months or even years after a mastectomy. In most cases, though, patients who are receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatments don’t undergo reconstruction surgery until after cancer treatments have ended.
Depending on the extent of your mastectomy reconstruction surgery, multiple surgeries may be necessary. If there are complications or if you’re not satisfied with the results, you may need to return for revision procedures. Be sure to discuss how many surgeries you should expect so you can plan your breast reconstruction recovery properly.
3. It’s Important to Discuss the Surgery with Your Surgeon
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or surgeon to sit down and answer your questions. Preparing for breast surgery can be frightening but asking questions can be a great way to alleviate your worries. A good practitioner understands your fears and will do their best to explain the specifics of the procedure so you can feel more confident moving forward.
Having questions prepared to ask your surgeon can help, too. When you provide them with detailed information, they’re able to make informed decisions on how best to proceed. They may also be able to recommend ways to speed up your breast reconstruction surgery recovery time. Write down any questions you have so you don’t forget what to say during your meeting.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- What types of reconstruction surgeries are available to me?
- Will surgery interfere with my chemo or radiation therapy?
- What are the risks associated with each surgery method?
- What are the benefits of each surgery method?
- Can I get reconstruction during the same session as my mastectomy?
- Should I have surgery on both breasts to improve symmetry?
- Will there be scarring?
- Will my insurance cover everything?
- How many similar procedures have you performed?
- Are you board-certified?
- What’s the typical surgery recovery time for each type of reconstruction surgery?
4. Using a Breast Prosthesis Is a Non-Surgical Alternative
Many women don’t actually require mastectomy reconstruction surgery, but they get it because it makes them feel more confident. After all, losing a body part can be extremely difficult. At the same time, some women don’t get reconstruction surgery and embrace their transformed body. It’s a very personal decision, and only you know what’s right for you.
Some women who don’t want reconstruction surgery decide to wear a breast prosthesis underneath their clothing. If you’re hesitant to get reconstruction surgery, or if you’d prefer to delay reconstruction until you have more surgery recovery time available, you could talk to your doctor about the possibility of wearing a prosthesis.
5. Healing Times Vary Depending on the Extent of Reconstruction Performed
Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed recovery time for a mastectomy reconstruction surgery. Most women feel tired and sore for one to two weeks after the procedure, but those side effects may last longer after a tissue flap procedure. In general, it usually takes around two months for bruising and swelling to dissipate, and one to two years before the breasts are fully healed and the scars have faded.
Most patients can return home after one or two days, but tissue flap patients may need five to six days. During the surgery recovery time at home, proper wound care is critical. Your surgeon may send you home with one or more drains—small tubes that drain fluids into a small receptacle. Your surgeon will explain how to use them.
Because the postoperative care requires ongoing attention, many women prefer to heal in a dedicated recovery center. Not only is it safer, but you get to enjoy a stress-free recovery after surgery in a tranquil environment. It’s a great way to keep spirits high as you transition into the next chapter of your life.
Recover in Paradise at Pearl Recovery
Pearl Recovery makes your surgery recovery time as comfortable as possible. Our recovery center comes fully stocked with luxurious amenities — like restorative IV vitamin therapy and hyperbaric oxygen treatments — that will have you healing in absolute serenity.
We provide a 24/7 compassionate, qualified nursing staff who will handle all necessary aftercare services so you can focus on feeling your best while we take care of the rest. Reserve your wellness suite now to recover from your mastectomy reconstruction surgery at Pearl Recovery.