Reducing Hospital Stay After Free Flap Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
In previous years, patients undergoing free flap breast reconstruction procedures (like the DIEP flap) could expect to stay in the hospital for about 5 days after surgery. Now, with the adoption of our Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol, patients can expect to be home by post-op day 3! Some patients are even feeling well enough to head home by day 2!
Thanks to our ERAS protocol, patients are experiencing less pain and recovering faster after breast reconstruction surgery. One day after surgery, patients can expect to be up and walking and can even eat solid foods! Over the next day (or two if needed), activity is gradually increased to help improve stamina, and patients are discharged once they feel well enough to head home.
“Reducing the hospital stay for our patients is something we are really proud of,” says Dr. Steven Pisano. “Providing the opportunity for patients to rest and recover further from homes is priceless.”
Returning home sooner after surgery benefits patients. Let’s face it, no one likes to be in the hospital. Patients are likely to be more comfortable and get better rest at home.
It is important to note having a helping hand at home is still necessary after returning home. Patients will have post-operative restrictions including no heavy lifting or driving. For this reason, we always recommend patients plan to have family and friends help out around the house following their discharge from the hospital.