After Surgery Care: 0 – 3 weeks
Monitoring Your Breast and Surgery Incisions
It’s important to check your breast and all incisions daily for signs and symptoms of infection. Contact the clinic nurse or on-call plastics resident immediately if you observe the following changes to your breast or incision:
- Increased size
- Increased firmness
- Cool temperature to skin
- Change in color
- Incision line separation
Check your incision for:
- Increased warmth or spreading redness of skin near a site
- Increased swelling
- Increased pain or tenderness
- Increased discharge at site (creamy yellow/green)
- Foul smelling odor
- Fever or chills
- Elevated temperature greater than 38°C
Preventing Blood Clots
To prevent blood clotting it is important to do short periods of light activity like walking at least five or six times each day. If they develop in your legs, blood clots can break off and travel to the heart or lungs and become potentially fatal.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience:
- Pain or swelling in your legs
- Difficulty breathing or shortness in breath
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
Most sutures are dissolvable and do not require removal. The blue stitch on your breast will be removed at your first follow up appointment. Your drain tubes are held in place with a suture that will be removed when your drain is ready to come out.
Patients generally require minimal dressings. You may receive a light non-stick dressing along the incision you experience any oozing along the incision line. Dressings should be changed daily.
Bathing and Wound Care
You are normally allowed to shower four days after your surgery. Do not soak in a bath. While showering, let the water run gently over your incisions and drain sites. Do not allow the water to directly spray on the incisions. Pat all incision lines dry. If you have steri-strips on your incisions simply pat them dry and leave them intact until they fall off on their own.
You may be sent home with number of prescriptions. It is important to avoid alcohol while taking any prescription medications. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat or prevent infection. Please follow instructions for use, and take them all until finished.
Pain Medication: Tylenol 3 is most commonly prescribed. As soon as you feel comfortable doing so, you may switch to extra-strength or regular Tylenol to avoid the nausea and constipation commonly associated with Tylenol 3.
Iron: Your doctor may recommend iron supplements to help you recover from blood loss.
Stool softeners: The combination of pain medication, iron pills and decreased mobility may leave you constipated. We suggest an over-the-counter aid such as Senekit or Colace to maintain bowel regularity.
You will likely go home with drains in your breast and donor site. You must empty these drains twice each day and record the amount of output from each.
Walking, Sitting, and Sleeping
Abdominal DIEP/SIEA flap patients:
Inner Thigh TUG flap patients:
Buttock SGAP/IGAP patients: