These are three main points we want all of our breast reconstruction patients to know! We have more detailed information and post-operative care instructions on our website, but these are the main points that we believe will help everyone!
It is important to know that burns can happen very easily after a mastectomy. The most common burn we see is from a heating pad or hot water bottle on the skin. After a mastectomy, you should NEVER use a heating pad or hot water bottle, as it can burn your skin without you knowing (your nerves are never the same after surgery). Another form of burn is from the sun. Even wearing clothing or a bathing suit does not protect your skin from the sun. These pictures show what sun damage can do after a mastectomy, and this was from a patient who was previously well healed and wearing a full coverage bathing suit years after her mastectomy. There are certain types of clothing and suits that offer UV protection, so we suggest wearing these after you’ve had a mastectomy.
It is always important to walk after surgery. One of the biggest risks after surgery, although uncommon, is a DVT (blood clot). This risk goes down with continued daily walking after surgery, even if it is simply around your house. This should start on day one!
Stretching is very important and will allow you to have a better range of motion for your arms and body if you stretch daily. Even when you have the drains in, we want you to be moving, stretching, and using the full range of motion of your arms. This will help to keep you active and decrease the chance of muscle tightening, cording, or frozen shoulder.