PREPARING FOR SURGERY
Do I need to purchase a bra before surgery?
We recommend no underwire bras for 4 weeks after breast surgery
If your surgery was done at the hospital, you will go home in a surgical bra and can continue wearing that, or any soft bra with gentle support
Will I get more than one compression garment?
You will be given one complimentary compression garment after surgery. If you wish to purchase a second garment, we recommend transitioning to Spanx, or a “stage two” garment which can be ordered from the Marena website: marena.com
Save 15% with this code: FSM4-406
Please contact our medical staff if you need assistance choosing the correct garment at 301.881.7770
Do I need to bring my prescription medication to the hospital?
You do NOT need to bring the medications that our office prescribed to the hospital. Please keep them at home, the hospital will have these available to you.
If you will be inpatient and take any daily home medications, you may want to bring them with you in case they are not on the hospital’s formulary. Please be sure the medications are in their original prescription bottles.
RECOVERING FROM SURGERY
What are my activity limitations after surgery?
These can vary depending on your specific surgery, but general limitations include:
First two weeks no strenuous activity (nothing that will raise your blood pressure), casual walks only
No heavy lifting
Always listen to your body and ease into activity
What can I do to help my post-operative swelling?
Time and compression will help to decrease swelling
Manual Lymphatic massage is recommended if you would like to accelerate the resolution of swelling, it may also help with your comfort level.
We recommend the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine which has multiple locations.
Can I use a heating pad to help with discomfort after surgery?
Due to decreased sensation after surgery and high risk for burns we ask that you do not use heating pads at any point after surgery. Instead, opt for a warm shower.
When can I shower after surgery?
Depending on your procedure, you will able to shower after you come in for your first post-operative visit. This is when your surgical dressings are removed. If there are drains present, you will be given a lanyard to clip your drains to so that your hands are free to wash.
When can I go swimming after surgery?
It is ok to swim 1 month after surgery, as long as there are no issues with delayed wound healing.
What can I take for constipation?
Narcotic pain medication and surgery can lead to constipation. The initial steps to prevent constipation include drinking plenty of fluids and periodically walking around the house. You may also modify your diet to include high fiber foods such as prunes and/or soluble fibers such as Metamucil or Benefiber. If this is not effective or you know you are prone to constipation, you may want to add some of the suggestions below. Since you have not had surgery on your gastrointestinal system, any of these are fine. The pharmacist may have other suggestions and generic substitutions are ok.
- Stool Softeners: Colace (docusate sodium)
- Laxatives: Senokot (senna), Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) **either tablets or suppositories, Miralax (polyethylene glycol) or Ex-lax (senna)
- Softeners + Laxatives: Peri-colace (docusate sodium + senna), Senokot-S (docusate sodium + senna)
- Enemas: Fleets
How can I reduce the appearance of my scars?
Once the incision is uncovered, you should avoid direct sunlight to that area for at least six months to prevent purning and hyperpigmentation (darkening) of the scar. Apply sunblock (SPF 15 or greater) to the scar before sun exposure.
Initially the scar will become raised and red. This is normal. Over the course of a year, the scar should gradually flatten and fade.
In 2-4 weeks, you should start to massage the scar twice daily. You may massage with soap and water in the shower and lotion or cream at night. Massage with gentle pressure in the direction of the scar for a few minutes. This will help the scar to flatten and fade sooner.
There are many over the counter scar products. Silicone based scar products have been proven to reduce the appearance of hypertrophic (raised) scars. Some patients may opt to purchase silicone based scar gel or strips which can be found over the counter at most pharmacies or at our office.
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE BREAST IMPLANTS
Do I need to continue taking antibiotics prior to dental work?
If you have breast implants, continue prophylactic antibiotics prior to dental work for the first two years after surgery.
Please wait to have dental work (including teeth cleaning) at least 3 months after surgery.
Can I get an MRI with implants in place?
If you have tissue expanders in place, you cannot have an MRI as these implants have a metallic component which is NOT compatible with MRI and may be detected by security screening devices.
What is Mondors cord?
This is a superficial thrombophlebitis that can appear after breast surgery. The vein is prominent and cord-like and can be tender as well
If this happens, it is not harmful. Treatment involves application of warm compresses (NOT a heating pad) and NSAIDS (ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc)
What are my activity restrictions?
If your implants are subpectoral (under the muscle) we ask that you wait 2-3 months for heavy pec exercises (push ups, pull downs, etc)
WHAT TO KNOW AFTER BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Where should I go to get a 3D nipple tattoo for my breast reconstruction?
3D nipple/areola tattooing can be done 5-6 months after completion of reconstructive surgeries.
Where can I go for Physical Therapy after breast reconstruction?
If Physical Therapy is recommended by your doctor, we refer to NRH rehabilitation Network which has multiple locations that specialize in Breast Cancer rehab.
Depending on where you live and where you had surgery, some patients opt for PT at Sibley or Shady Grove.