At Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C., our board certified plastic surgeons have been helping patients for fifty years, and we know that the best plastic surgery results come about when patients are well-informed about all their options and know what to expect. This is why we are constantly looking for new ways to communicate with patients both before and after their plastic surgery procedures. Last month, we talked about how you should prepare before undergoing breast reconstruction surgery. This month, we’ll talk about the things that they can do after their procedure to help ensure that their recovery goes smoothly and that breast surgery complications are kept to a minimum.
Get Up and Get Moving – Slowly
Although it is important to take it easy after any major surgery, light exercise can actually be conducive to your recovery. Start with some short, leisurely walks to stimulate blood flow in the extremities and encourage the healing process. Simple stretching exercises can make you feel more comfortable, and can often be performed without even getting out of bed. Once your doctor gives you the okay, you can start engaging in a moderate combination of cardiovascular exercises and resistance-training. This can boost your metabolism and help keep your lungs and lymph nodes clear, allowing you to recover faster.
Avoid Things That Can Impede Your Recovery
Unfortunately there are many environmental factors that can have a detrimental effect on your body and slow down the recovery process. Smooth and rapid healing requires that oxygenated blood reach damaged tissues, but cigarette smoke compromises lung function and impedes blood flow to the skin’s surface. By the same token, exposure to ultraviolet radiation can damage the skin and make scars more noticeable, so take steps to keep any healing incisions protected from sunlight. Finally, alcohol and caffeine, as well as certain medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements, might adversely affect blood clotting. Your surgeon will provide you with a detailed list of substances to avoid during breast reconstruction recovery.
Communicate and Follow Instructions
After any surgical procedure, your doctor will schedule follow-up visits to check on your progress and to make sure that your recovery is going smoothly. It is very important that you keep these appointments, as they will allow you to bring any concerns to your doctor’s attention and allow your doctor to catch and treat any developing complications before they become too serious. You will be given detailed pre- and post-operative instructions that are specifically suited to your needs and recovery, including medications you should take and instructions for changing bandages, if necessary. However, you should keep in mind that no set of instructions can cover every possible contingency. Follow all of your instructions carefully, but do not be afraid to contact your doctor if you have any additional questions.
The important thing about recovering after breast reconstruction surgery is to take it slow. People heal at different rates, so although we understand that you will be excited and anxious, we encourage you to listen to your body and let it heal at its own pace. If you are interested in discussing your own breast reconstruction options with one of our board certified plastic surgeons, please contact us in Alpharetta, or at one of our other Atlanta Plastic Surgery offices located in Sandy Springs (Northside), Newnan, or Cumming, to schedule a full consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.