What to expect after surgery

The type of surgery you’ve had will affect the side effects you experience. Not all women experience these side effects, but most have one side effect or more.

Learn more about:

Appearance of breast

It’s natural to feel nervous when the bandages are first removed.

The look of the reconstructed breast will improve as the bruising and swelling lessen. It may take longer for the appearance of a breast reconstruction using a tissue flap to settle.

Your self-esteem is likely to be affected, see Body Image for ways to feel better about your body image.

Pain relief

For any type of operation, you will be given pain relievers to ease your discomfort.

You will also probably have small tubes inserted into the operation site so fluid can drain away.

If you have had a flap reconstruction, you will be sore in the area where the muscle and other tissue were taken, as well as in the breast area.

Healing problems

Sometimes there may be healing problems within the first week or so after surgery. This can be caused by infection, poor blood supply or problems with an implant.

Any infection must be treated to reduce the possibility of further complications. If an implant has been used, it might need to be taken out. However, it may be possible to have a new implant put in at a later date.


Blood may build up in or under the wound. This is called a haematoma, and it causes swelling and pain.

A large haematoma may need to be surgically removed.


In some cases, when drains have been removed, extra fluid collects in or under the wound. This is called a seroma, and it causes swelling and pain.

A seroma may need to be drained by a health professional using a needle.


All people heal differently and the final appearance of a scar will vary from women to women, even if the surgery is the same. Most scars have a thickened, red appearance at first, but usually fade after about three months.

Sometimes the scar stays thick and becomes itchy and uncomfortable. Let your surgeon know if you have other existing raised, irregular scars (sometimes called keloid scars), as this may show that you are prone to getting these types of scars. Your surgeon or breast care nurse can advise you about treatments to reduce the discomfort. You may be able to have further surgery to improve the scar’s appearance.


Breast reconstruction doesn’t affect your ability to become pregnant or carry a baby.

If you have had a TRAM flap reconstruction, mesh is put into the abdominal wall during surgery to help decrease the risk of a hernia during pregnancy.


It will not be possible to breastfeed with the reconstructed breast.

Most women can breastfeed successfully with their other breast, although this may be difficult if you have had a reduction surgery in this breast.

Talk to a breast care nurse or lactation consultant about any concerns you have about breastfeeding after a reconstruction.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Breast Prostheses and Reconstruction

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in June 2017
View who reviewed this content
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