In an effort to make you more comfortable with discharge home and to answer any questions you may have, the following instructions have been prepared for you. However, you may call the office at any time with additional questions or concerns.
For the breast
You have just undergone implant-based breast reconstruction. Your breast will likely have bruising that is expected after a mastectomy. You may be given a surgical bra at the time of surgery. It is optional for you to wear this, for your comfort and support. However, underwire bras are not to be worn in the immediate period after surgery.
The incisions most likely have a sterile glue or white paper strips (steristrips) that have been placed on them. Leave these strips in place, they will fall off on their own. No separate wound care is required for the incisions.
Application of ointments, dressings, or lotions is not necessary. Do not massage the incisions until we instruct you in the office (six weeks after surgery).
The breast reconstruction will have drains. It is important to empty the drains twice daily and record the outputs. Please bring this sheet to your appointment after surgery. Based on the output, the drains will be removed one to three weeks after surgery. For the drains to be working appropriately, the bulbs need to be collapsed to create a light suction. The nurse in the hospital will review the drain care with you and your family prior to discharge home. It is best to safely secure the drains to your clothes with a safety pin.
Sleep on your back for the first two weeks after surgery.
- You may take a shower 48 hours after the surgery date. After the shower, pat dry the surgical site. Alternatively, you can allow it to air dry.
- Do not take a bath or submerge yourself in water.
- You will have special adhesive glue or white paper strips (steri strips) over the incisions. Do not remove these.
- Rest at home during the first few days after surgery.
- Walking is encouraged, but strenuous exercise is not allowed until six weeks after surgery. Sitting in a comfortable chair is better than sitting in bed.
- Avoid strenuous activity. Do not lift more than five-ten pounds. A dedicated post-mastectomy rehabilitation and exercise program will be started two weeks after surgery.
- Return to work varies depending on your type of job. Many patients return to work after approximately four to six weeks with light duty or restriction.
Pain Control and Prescriptions
- A prescription for pain medication will be sent to your pharmacy. Take this pain medication as prescribed as needed for moderate to severe pain. For less severe pain, you may take over the counter Tylenol (acetaminophen), instead of the prescribed pain medication.
- Your prescription pain medication may contain acetaminophen. For example, Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) contains 325mg of Tylenol. Do not exceed 4000 mg of Tylenol (acetaminophen) from all sources in a 24 hour period.
- Narcotic pain medication can be constipating, so drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages to help with regular bowel movements. It is important not to strain to have a bowel movement. Any straining can jeopardize your safety and recovery.
- You may be prescribed a muscle relaxant (diazepam) and/or antibiotic. Take these as directed.
- Please do not drive while taking narcotic pain medication
Call the Office
Do not hesitate to call the office with any concerns or questions. A doctor is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day. Please notify us immediately at if:
- You have increased swelling, pain, or color change in the breast.
- One breast becomes suddenly significantly larger than the other breast.
- You have redness develop around the incisions.
- You have a fever greater than 101 F.
- You develop sudden increase in pain.
- You develop drainage, spreading redness or foul odor.
- You have any questions.