Post Surgery Instructions


Arrange for someone to stay with you in the immediate days after discharge.

Most patients are able to return to work after 4-5 weeks. If your job requires physical exertion, more time may be required.

What should I expect after surgery:

  • Moderate swelling of the reconstructed breast and/or the buttock area will persist for 1-2 months
  • Numbness in the reconstructed breast, donor area, and sometimes the upper, inner arm for 6-12 months
  • Some emotional letdown after surgery is a normal part of your recovery

Please call us for:

  • Persistent fever above 101.5
  • Rapidly expanding swelling under the skin
  • Spreading, bright pink color to the skin surrounding the surgical site(s)
  • Pus in drain from the incision site
  • Change in flap temperature or color

Wound care:

  • Empty and record drain output 3 times daily on the sheet provided for you
  • Dressings may be changed daily if present prior to discharge. Gauze and tape is removed and suture lines cleansed lightly with hydrogen peroxide prior to placement of fresh gauze and tape
  • Only sponge bathing is allowed until all the drains have been removed
  • Do not soak in tub for at least 2 weeks after surgery and pat the skin dry afterwards


  • Take the antibiotic prescribed until completely gone
  • Your prescribed pain medicine should be used on an as needed basis. As soon as you are comfortable doing so switch to extra-strength Tylenol or Ibuprofen, as narcotics may be causing nauseating and/or constipation
  • We recommend taking over the counter aids such as senekot-S or Colace while recovering from surgery to maintain bowel regularity
  • DO NOT drive until you have stopped all pain medications. For most driving is OK 2 weeks after surgery


  • Light meals are better tolerated for the first week after surgery, but in general any food appeals to you is OK
  • Avoid alcohol while taking prescription pain medication but it is acceptable in moderation once use of these medications are stopped


  • Do not wear a bra for 3 weeks after discharge
  • No driving for 2 weeks
  • No sexual activity for at least 3 weeks
  • No lifting of objects >5 lbs. for 3 weeks
  • Daily walks are recommended
  • Do no sleep on you side or abdomen for 3 weeks
  • Flying or traveling as a passenger is OK after the first week

Sun Exposure:

  • Always use sun block if sun exposure is expected