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

Doctor Answers 18

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.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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
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Recovery time after for breast reconstruction aftermastectomy

It all depends of what type of reconstruction. A tissue expander or implant. The patient will be in the hospital for approximately 1 or 2 day. I f some type of flap was done, the you may have to stay from 3 to 5 days, after this period you will have to recover for approximately 2 to 4 weeks. I will say that by 6 to 8 weeks, you should be very close to full recovery.

Recovery time after mastectomy for reconstruction

 The most popular type of reconstruction after mastectomy is a implant based reconstruction. A tissue expander is placed at the time of mastectomy. A second stage surgery is usually performed 2 to 3 months later. This is when the permanent implant is placed.  The initial recovery after mastectomy and reconstruction is about six weeks.

Brian Tierney, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Real times for DIEP flap and Implant based breast reconstruction

There are so many options for breast reconstruction.  The various options fall under autologous (the woman’s own tissue) or implant-based reconstruction.

Women interested in autologous microvascular breast reconstruction are candidates for perforator flaps from their body including DIEP (abdomen), GAP (buttock), PAP (thigh), TUG (thigh), SIEA (abdomen) or TAP (chest wall) flaps. The recovery is often 4 - 6 weeks.  

Implant-based breast reconstruction may be performed in two stages (tissue expander & implant) or a single stage (direct-to-implant). The recovery is often 2-4 weeks.

Recovery times can be shorter or longer, based on the patient and complexity of reconstruction. 

Neil Tanna, MD, MBA
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Recovery Time for Breast Reconstruction

The amount of time required for recovery for breast reconstruction is going to vary greatly depending on the type of breast reconstruction.  I tell all of my patients it is going to take 9 months to a year from the initial mastectomy until the final reconstruction is complete.   Patients can return to work within 2-3 weeks of each operation, but for some types of reconstruction there can be several stages.   Talk to your boar certified plastic surgeon to determine which type of reconstruction is best for you and the recovery associated with that type of reconstruction.

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.

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 7 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 65 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.