Breast Reconstruction/Post-Mastectomy Information


In general, good candidates for breast reconstruction:

  • Are able to cope well with their diagnosis and treatment

  • Are healthy and do not have medical conditions that impair healing

  • Are nonsmokers

  • Have a positive outlook and realistic expectations for restoring their breast and body image

Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:

  • A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation or feel as the breast it replaces

  • Visible incision lines will always be present on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy

  • Certain surgical techniques will leave incision lines at the donor site, commonly located in less-exposed areas of the body such as the back or abdomen


In preparing for a breast reconstruction, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation

  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications

  • Stop smoking well in advance of surgery

  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements because they can increase bleeding and bruising

  • Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery


During your recovery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. This should be worn around the clock or as instructed by your prescription. Avoid lifting for 2 weeks, and no gym or strenuous activity for 6 weeks. Acute pain and soreness will last a few weeks, but your doctor will prescribe pain medications to help you remain comfortable.

Although infrequent, the risks and complications of breast reconstruction include:

  • Partial or complete loss of flap

  • Breast firmness

  • Asymmetry

  • Exposure of tissue

  • Capsular contracture (excess scar tissue around implants)

  • Wound breakdown

Unlikely Complications