What's the Average Recovery Time of Breast Reconstruction for a Mastectomy?

Doctor Answers 14

Recovery Time after Breast Reconstruction

The answer to this question is not straight-forward and has so many variables. Whether the reconstruction is done at the same time as the mastectomy or later is one thing to take into consideration. The second is the type of reconstruction, implants versus your own tissue. In general, however, you can anticipate about six weeks before life is close to being back to normal. Even at six weeks you may still be undergoing weekly doctor's visits, but you will be feeling much better and have resumed much of your normal life. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon what your recovery will look like based on the reconstruction you choose to undergo. Best of luck.

Breast Reconstruction

This varies a lot depending on what procedures have been done before, and whether any complications have been present in the area.  Four to six weeks and out to 8 weeks is not uncommon to have activities altered due to surgery and recovery.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

What's the Average Recovery Time of Breast Reconstruction for a Mastectomy?

Dr Rand is correct. Recovery depends upon which reconstructive option is used in your case. The longer the surgery time the longer the recovery on average. 

Recovery time after breast reconstruction for a mastectomy

Recovery time after breast reconstruction after a mastectomy depends on the reconstruction technique.

1. For implant base breast reconstruction - stage 1 involves placement of a tissue expander and alloderm after mastectomy - Normally the patient stays in the hospital for 1 to 2 days for this stage1. All the surgical sites should heal and the drains removed by week 3. Patient should be able to return to work by week 3 to 4. Stage 2 involves removal of tissue expander and placement of permanent implant. This surgery is outpatient which means you could go home the same day.
2. For autologous tissue breast reconstruction i.e. free TRAM, DIEP, and SGAP flaps, the surgery usually takes about 8 to 10 hours depending on one or 2 sides. After the surgery, the patient stays in the hospital for 5 days. You should feel fully recovered by week 3-4. All subsequent touch up surgeries are outpatient.

What is The Average Time for Recovery After Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy?

The Recovery time after Mastectomy is primarily dependent upon the type of reconstructive procedure performed.  If a flap procedure is done the recovery will be much longer.  Currently there is a trend for many women choosing the single stage reconstruction because of the following benefits: 
1.One stage
2.Over night stay in hospital only
3.improved cosmetic result
4. Acceptable scarring
5.Faster recovery and return to active lifestyle.
I have found after 600 breast reconstructions that most patients want to return to their active life style as soon as possible and for that reason they choose the single stage procedure.  The average recovery time after a single stage procedure is 2 to 4 weeks.  

Joseph Rucker, MD, FACS
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Recovery time for breast reconstruction

Recovery time will vary on which breast reconstruction procedure you opt for.  Implant-based reconstruction is the simplest and least painful procedure, along with the least recuperation time.  Typically, most women are doing most things within 2-3 wks.  Flap-based procedures are more complex and require procedures performed on 2 different areas of your body.  Depending on which flap procedure was performed, recuperation time varies from 4-8 weeks.  Usually, I recommend a 6 week recovery time for breast reconstruction, with most women being able to get back to work earlier if they so choose.  

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Breast Reconstruction Recovery

Recovery depends on the options you chose.    We provide tissue or implant reconstruction.    The rate limiting factors are body habitus, cancer stage, and patient preference.    Implant reconstruction involves a 1 week recovery, whereas tissue (DIEP/TRAM/GAP) recovery is about 2-3 weeks.   It is important to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon with a special interest in breast cancer reconstruction, who is experienced in providing all these options to you.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Breast reconstruction recovery

Recovery from breast reconstruction really varies depending upon the typw of procedure you had done.  A tissue expander insertion recovery(1-2 wks) is alot easier than a TRAM or Free Flap like a (DIEP or free TRAM)( 2-3 wks).

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

It will depend on the type of reconstruction

You will have faster recovery with tissue expander and implant reconstruction. The concern with the implant breast reconstruction is the quality of the breast reconstruction and capsular contracture.I offer my patient DIEP flap and the recovery is about 10 days.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Recovery after breast reconstruction quickest with implant

The quickest recovery after breast reconstruction is with an implant, usually supported by a acellular dermal matrix internal bra. In the best case scenario, a skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate "direct-to-implant" reconstruction gets everything done in one operation with a short recovery. Next best is skin-sparing mastectomy with a tissue expander, which would be followed a few months later with a short outopatient operation to exchange the expander for a permanent implant. The longest recovery is using a flap procedure, which involves at least a few days in hospital and several weeks of limited activity.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.