First Days of Recovery
Once surgery is completed you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where you will slowly wake up. You’ll be here for approximately two hours, or until the anesthetic wears off.
When you wake up you will be connected to a number of monitors and may have an oxygen tube in your nose and a catheter to empty your bladder, as well as your IV. Your new breast(s) and donor site(s) will have drain tubes coming from under your skin, and you’ll be wearing your bra and other support garment on your donor site. You may also be wearing compression stockings that inflate and deflate to decrease the risk of blood clots developing in your legs.
Visitors are not allowed in the PACU, but they may call to check your status from the phone in the visitor lounge.
Once the PACU teams feels you are ready, you will move to your room in the GH5 ward. Your loved ones may see you now, but we recommend you keep visitors to a minimum during the first few post-surgery hours.
The First 24 Hours After Surgery
You will be monitored very closely in the first 24 hours after your surgery. Doctors and nurses will check the blood flow through your newly attached blood vessels every hour during the first 24 hours. A small blue stitch on your breast indicates where the blood vessels were sewn together. Your medical team will monitor this spot with a special Doppler monitor.
You won’t receive any food or liquids in the first 24 hours, just in case any follow-up procedures are tequired within this first day. Your fluids will be maintained through an IV.
If you had a procedure with tissue from your abdomen (DIEP or SGAP) you may require pillows under your knees and also to keep your head raised by at least 30 degrees to decrease tension on your abdomen.
If your procedure used tissue from your inner thighs or buttocks (TUG, SGAP or IGAP), you will need to lie flat in bed with your knees together and no hip flexion (movement).
You will receive pain medication through your IV. You may have a pump which allows you to self administer a dose as needed. Once you are allowed to eat, your pain medication will be given in pill form.
Day Two of Recovery
You can expect to feel very weak and tired on this first real day of rest and recovery. As you rest, your body is adjusting to its changes and working to keep itself healthy.
DIEP and SIEA (abdominal tissue) patients are usually able to sit up and walk short distances with assistance the day after surgery. When walking, patients need to bend slightly to decrease tension on their abdominal area.
Patients who underwent the TUG or IGAP/SGAP procedure (using tissue from the inner thighs or buttocks) typically need bed rest for three to five days.
Your pain will be managed with medication administered through your IV or in pill form. If you are still experiencing pain be sure to let your nurse know. Good pain control speeds up recovery by allowing you to rest, so your body can heal itself.
Doctors will ask you to do breathing and coughing exercises every hour while awake to help speed your recovery and decrease the risk of developing chest problems.
Family and friends can visit during the regular visiting hours of 2:00 – 8:00 pm.
Days 3-5 of Recovery
You will make small steps towards going home between the third and fifth day after surgery. You may be released as early as the third day depending on your ability to move around and manage your drainage tubes.
When you are able to move well enough to get to the bathroom on your own, medical staff will remove your cathetor. Next, you’ll be shown how to empty and measure the fluid coming out of your drainage tubes accurately, as you’ll need to continue this procedure at home.
DIEP and SIEA patients are usually able to shower on day three. TUG, SGAP and IGAP patients are usually able to shower on days five to seven.
When your team feels you are ready, you will be sent home with drain and wound care instructions, as well as any required prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics.
You’ll receive your first follow-up appointment date before you leave the hospital unless you are discharged over the weekend, in which case you’ll be asked to call us the following Monday to book an appointment.
If you live out of town, we prefer you make arrangements to stay in Winnipeg until your first follow-up appointment which will take place within one week.
To ensure your healing and recovery are a perfect success, most patients will see their breast reconstruction team three times after surgery.
Within a week of being discharged, you will come in to see your clinic nurse. The following week you will see your doctor and an appointment for drain removal will be scheduled as needed.
If you have any questions about your condition once home, please contact your clinic nurse:
|Surgeon||Plastic Surgery Nurse||Phone|
|Dr. Buchel||Heather||204 787-8830|
|Dr. Hayakawa||Shaney||204 787-7240|
|Dr. Islur||Maureen||204 237-2800|
|Dr. Olivier||Maureen||204 237-2800|
|Dr. Sigurdson||Heather||204 787-8830|
To schedule your follow-up appointments please call:
|Dr. Buchel||Cindy||204 787-7224|
|Dr. Hayakawa||Mandy||204 787-7158|
|Dr. Islur||Paula||204 235-3020|
|Dr. Olivier||Heather||204 235-3536|
|Dr. Sigurdson||Dyanne||204 787-7374|