If you are planning to get a DIEP flap breast reconstruction done, there are chances that you might have planned a mastectomy or have already had one. If you want good results and an easy of recovery period, getting prepared physically and emotionally for the procedure is extremely necessary.
Some Tips to Help in Smooth Recovery after Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Certain things can be done for improving the comfort level before as well as after the procedure. Most importantly, follow the orders that the surgeon gives you and ask him questions, if any.
Before getting the discharge papers signed by the doctor, make an inquiry about homecare services. Depending on the location where the surgery is performed and the surgeon who performs it, a nurse can be arranged for coming and getting you checked.
Always ensure that all the incisions drain properly and you heal well.
Since tissue would be removed from the abdomen to be grafted to the chest area, several incisions may be made. You would be quite sore after this procedure. For minimizing the discomfort, effective pain medications would be prescribed by the doctor. It should be kept in mind that some constipation may be experienced due to the pain medications. To help minimize the side effects, a stool softener can be taken. The doctor can prescribe one, or over the counter versions can be taken.
Always ensure that enough time is taken off from work. Since the breast reconstruction procedure is an invasive one, normal activities cannot be resumed quickly. So it would be best if your family and friends could help.
It should be kept in mind that not many things can be done during the initial weeks after the surgery. Even though you can try handling some simple tasks such as laundry or cooking, you will find that lying in bed or resting in a recliner is much more comfortable. Someone else should be given the responsibility of taking care of you.
Some fatigue may also be experienced during the first few weeks. However, this is absolutely normal. This is because the body is healing and also a result of side effects of medication. However, as the period of recovery progresses, this would continue to improve. If you are having trouble getting in and out of bed owing to discomfort, try sleeping in a recliner. Getting into it will be very easy and this would provide relief from the pressure that is being felt on the abdomen and the chest.
Lot of water should be consumed and the strength kept up by proper eating after your DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery.