What to Expect with Reconstructive Breast Surgery (The James)

What to Expect with Reconstructive Breast Surgery

This handout gives you information about what to expect with your reconstructive breast surgery. More detailed information about your surgery can be found in your Reconstructive Breast Surgery book. If you have questions, ask your nurse or doctor for more information.

Important Medicine Information

Talk to your doctor about any medicines you take to thin your blood or prevent clots. You may need to change these medicines or adjust the amount you take before surgery.

These medicines include:

  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel, brand name Plavix
  • Prasugrel, brand name Effient
  • Ticagrelor, brand name Brilinta
  • Apixaban, brand name Eliquis
  • Ticlopidine, brand name Ticlid
  • Warfarin, brand name Coumadin
  • Enoxaparin, brand name Lovenox
  • Dabigatran, brand name Pradaxa
  • Fondaparinux, brand name Arixtra
  • Rivaroxaban, brand name Xarelto
  • Cilostazol, brand name Pletal
  • Edoxaban, brand name Savaysa

If you have a stent, do not stop taking your medicines to prevent clots without first talking to the doctor who put in the stent. For more information, ask a member of your health care team for the patient education handout on protecting your stent.

If you take aspirin or medicines like aspirin for arthritis pain, your doctor may have you take a different medicine in the weeks before your surgery.

If your surgery or procedure is canceled for any reason, call your doctor because you may need to restart the medicines you take to thin your blood or prevent clots.

Important Information

  • Do not use tobacco or products with nicotine, including electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and nicotine gum or patches for at least 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after your surgery.
  • Eat a healthy diet before and after your surgery to help you heal. Your body needs more calories, protein, vitamins and minerals to help you heal. Your doctor may want you to meet with a dietitian to learn how you can improve your diet. For more information, read the Nutrition and Wound Healing handout in your book.
  • Be active and try to exercise 15 to 30 minutes each day. It is important to talk with your doctor before you start any exercise program after your surgery.

Day of Your Surgery

Your doctor may order the following medicines for you to take before your surgery. These medicines help prevent nausea, blood clots and pain after your surgery:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Oxycodone
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Scopolamine
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox) or Heparin

During your surgery, a special doctor (anesthesiologist) may need to give you more medicines to help prevent nausea and to numb the nerves near the site of your surgery.

After Surgery

  • Once your surgery is done, you will be moved to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), for a period of time and closely watched before you go to your hospital room.
  • You will take scheduled doses of non-opioid medicines to help reduce your pain. These medicines may include:
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
    • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
    • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • You may be able to start eating the night of your surgery. It is best to slowly increase your diet, starting with ice chips and clear liquids first, before you eat solid food. Tell your nurse if you feel sick to your stomach. 
  • Increase your activity slowly. On the night of your surgery, your nurse will help you move to a chair and have you walk around your room. You should only get out of bed with help from your nurse, until you are okay to get up on your own.
  • A urinary catheter is placed during your surgery to drain urine from your bladder. Your catheter will be taken out the night of your surgery or the following morning, when you are able to get out of bed.
  • You will be given medicine (Lovenox or Heparin) to prevent blood clots. You will also need to wear compression sleeves on each leg when you are in bed or in a chair. Air is pumped into different parts of each sleeve to create a gentle pressure around your calves.
  • Before your leave the hospital, you will be given information on how to care for yourself at home. These directions may include how to take your medicine, how to care for your incision, what problems to watch for during your recovery and any follow-up appointments.
  • Your doctor may also order medicines for you to take at home to reduce pain and prevent blood clots. These medicines may include:
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Oxycodone
    • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
    • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
    • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
    • Scopolamine
    • Enoxaparin (Lovenox) or Heparin

 

© June 26, 2018. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.

For more health information, call the Patient and Family Resource Center at 614-366-0602 or visit cancer.osu.edu/PFRC