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

Doctor Answers 23

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.


Danville Plastic Surgeon
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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.

Mytien Goldberg, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
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Postoperative recovery

Breast reconstruction recovery can depend on the type of reconstruction performed- generally, implant based breast reconstruction will have a recovery time of about 4 weeks.  When using your own tissue (either from the abdomen or the back) recovery time increases to approximtely 6 weeks-- keeping in mind other patient medical conditions, prior radiation treatment may cause healing time to increase... best of luck

Recovery time varies

Recovery is a process that takes several weeks following mastectomies with immediate reconstruction.  This timeframe may be as short as 6 weeks for implant-based reconstruction and more commonly 8 weeks for autologous tissue reconstruction.

Recovery time after breast reconstruction surgery

This is actually a difficult question to answer as it depends on what type of reconstruction you have and how "recovered" you mean by "recovery time".

For implant based reconstruction, it is normally a few days in hospital then home with a drain. You need to take it easy for a few weeks and you can't shower until the drains are removed. I would say no swimming or exercise for 3 - 4 weeks although you should be driving after a week or so.

For a TRAM or DIEP flap breast reconstruction, it is a week in hospital then not lifting anything heavier than 2 grocery bags for 4 weeks. No exercise or swimming for at least 4 weeks. Driving after this type of surgery is different for different people, but around 2 -3 weeks for most.

I hope this helps

Recovery of breast recon

this depends on the type of reconstruction.  Expander reconstruction you could be home in one day and back to normal in two weeks.  A Free flap reconstruction you could be in the hospital a week and back to normal in 6 weeks.  

Hope this helps

Good luck


"The above answer has been given without seeing this patient and cannot be substituted for actual in-person examination and medical advice; it is only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

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.

Rafael Gottenger, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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 P. Tierney, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 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, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 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.

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.