ICU Stay After DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction: Is It Required?
Immediate recovery following DIEP flap breast reconstruction (or any flap-based procedure) requires an in-patient hospital stay. Depending on your surgeon and the facility where your surgery is performed, the total amount of time in the hospital after surgery will vary. Likewise, where you choose to have surgery will also determine whether your in-patient stay will include any time spent in the ICU.
At PRMA Plastic Surgery, our patients DO NOT spend any time post operatively in the ICU. All our patients recover in a private hospital room with their own bathroom and shower. We work closely with the dedicated hospital breast care nurses who are all highly trained to monitor and care for our patients after surgery. Patients can also expect daily visits from our surgeons and PAs.
A short period of time in the ICU may be the standard of recovery care for some patients who choose to undergo their surgery elsewhere. This is greatly dependent on where the surgery is performed and the surgeon’s preference.
In addition to the benefit of no required ICU say following DIEP flap surgery at PRMA, our patients’ also benefit from a shorter length of in-patient stay. Thanks to the implementation of our Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol, our patients’ private room in-patient hospital stay has been reduced to 2-3 days. This is a significant difference compared to the more commonly practiced 5 day stay. Patients find recovering at home to be more comfortable and are able to get more rest compared to patients who are required to stay in the hospital longer.
We have heard from some patients that they were initially concerned about the shorter hospital stay, stating that it didn’t seem to be “the norm” and they didn’t want to feel rushed home. We completely agree! PRMA’s ERAS protocol is improving our patient’s recovery experience exponentially and the shorter hospital stay is one of the many reflections of that. Patients are reporting much lower levels of pain after surgery and reflectively are taking little-to-no narcotics during recovery. The lower levels of experienced pain/discomfort mean patients feel well enough to walk, shower and eat as soon as the next morning following surgery. As such, they are feeling well enough to head home on post-op day 2 or 3.
“The ERAS protocol is amazing,” shares PRMA patient Avery. “I didn’t have any pain at all. I was standing up almost completely straight the next day I was helping my husband make the kids lunch seven days out.”
Author: Dr. Chet Nastala and Courtney Floyd
Depending on your surgeon and the facility where your surgery is performed, the total amount of time in the hospital after surgery will vary. Likewise, where you choose to have surgery will also determine whether your in-patient stay will include any time spent in the ICU.