5 Common Concerns Post Breast Reconstruction Surgery
By: Courtney Floyd
1. Pain and discomfort.
You have just had a major surgery! Experiencing discomfort post operatively is normal and should be expected. However, thanks to our ERAS Protocol, patients are experiencing less pain, using less (if any) narcotics, and are feeling well enough to be discharged from the hospital after 2-3 days.
2. Firmness of the breast.
After surgery, your newly reconstructed breasts may feel firm due to post surgery swelling. This is typical and will subside. Within a few months, the breasts will become softer and more natural feeling.
3. Stiffness or soreness to extremities.
Stiffness or soreness in the upper extremity of the mastectomy and reconstructed side is normal. Once you begin your range of motion exercises, this will subside. As silly and small as the exercises may seem after surgery, they can make a huge difference in your overall range of motion after you have completely healed.
You may find as a typical day progresses, you will be tired by the afternoon. Even simple tasks like walking to the mailbox may seem exhausting. Don’t be alarmed! Your body is healing and you will build your stamina back up over time. It is important to remember not to push yourself too hard and get plenty of rest.
5. Post-Surgical blues.
Post-surgical blues are common. Many patients experience brief (and sometimes prolonged) periods of feeling down. Some patients may even develop signs and symptoms of clinical depression that may not develop until 2-4 weeks post-surgery. It is normal to feel this way in the wake of breast cancer and reconstruction surgery. You have just been through a whirlwind—it’s ok to express and feel grief—just remember there is a finish line and you are almost there!
It is important during your recovery to listen closely to your body! Although the above mentioned concerns are normal after breast reconstruction surgery, if any are experienced in excess you should inform your nurse or physician as soon as possible. An open line of communication with your provider is crucial to your healing experience.