- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast reconstruction
- Taking care of yourself after a reconstruction
Taking care of yourself after a reconstruction
Your recovery time will depend on your age, general health and the type of surgery you had. Most women feel better within 1–2 weeks and can return to their normal activities after 4–8 weeks. Learn more about ways to look after yourself.
RestWhen you get home from hospital, you will need to take things easy for the first weeks. Ask family and friends to help you with chores so you can rest.
DrivingYou will probably need to avoid driving for 2–6 weeks after surgery. Discuss this timing with your breast surgeon.
LiftingAvoid repetitive arm movements, such as hanging out washing or vacuuming, and heavy lifting (more than 5 kg) for four weeks after surgery. Heavy lifting includes carrying shopping bags. You can gradually return to normal activities, including lifting from 4–8 weeks.
Tummy problemsYou may have some weakness in your abdomen after abdominal flap surgery. Take care getting up from a low chair or sitting up in bed. You will be encouraged to wear supportive underwear. If you still have weakness after six weeks, ask your doctor about visiting a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist for an exercise program.
Follow-up appointmentsYour surgeon will continue to care for you until your body has healed. Then you will have regular check-ups with your breast specialist.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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