Dr. Salzberg and the staff of the New York Group for Plastic Surgery are here to support you after breast reconstruction surgery with implants and Alloderm or Strattice. The following instructions and guidelines will help your recovery process after Direct-to-Implant, or “One-Step,” breast reconstruction:
DURING THE FIRST 1-2 WEEKS…
- You will leave the hospital within 1 to 2 days following your surgery. Call our office at 914-366-6139 (Tarrytown) OR 914-239-8700 (Hudson Valley) to schedule your post-op appointment when you are discharged from the hospital.
- During the first week, rest or sleep on your back slightly propped up so that you’re comfortable. Do not lie on your side or stomach. This will help your implants stay in the best position during your healing process.
- You should have a prescription for an antibiotic to prevent infection and a pain medication. Follow the instructions on the bottles.
- We encourage you to take it easy the first week after surgery, but moving your arms is OK. Reaching for something in the cabinet, brushing your hair etc. are all things you may do, and will actually help with your range of motion. You can become stiff if you are not moving your upper body at all. At your first post-op appointment, we will review specific range of motion exercises you may do.
- The surgical bra you wear leaving the hospital is designed to hold the dressing in place and has the ability to hold your JP drains. When your drains are removed, you will go into a more shaping and supportive bra for 6-12 weeks (see below). Remain in the surgical bra until evaluated at your first post-op appointment. No showering while drains are in place.
- DO NOT remove the white bandage strips (Steri-Strips) that lie on top of your incisions. They will fall off on their own in about 10-14 days. (You will be able to shower in these bandage strips, but you may not do so until the drains are removed). Once the Steri-Strips fall off, you may begin scar massage and/or silicone scar sheets (see below). You can gently remove your Steri-Strips if they have not fallen off by week 3 after surgery. You can do this while you are in the shower and they will gently peel off like a Band-Aid.
- Your drains will stay in for at least 7 days and be removed in the office by Dr. Salzberg or a physician assistant (PA). The sutures holding the drains in place are the only ones that need to be removed.
- Dr. Salzberg uses dissolvable sutures on the breast incision. There is no need to remove these sutures. Do not be alarmed if a suture pokes through the skin. This can be easily removed in the office.
- Do not panic if your nipple develops a scab, changes shape or becomes faint in color. This can occur because the tissue beneath the nipple has been removed during the mastectomy.
- Your breasts will be high and seem very tight after surgery. This is normal and expected. Do not worry about the implant position, as this will settle and soften over the next 12 weeks. You may have irregularities in your skin and/or bruising. This is also normal and part of the healing process.