Understandably, most chest reconstruction top surgery patients are anxious to see the final outcome of their procedure. By closely following your post-surgical instructions, you may be able to speed up the recovery process, but you won’t be able to completely avoid the post-surgery discomfort and swelling.
Surgery recovery takes time and care. You can slowly get back to your normal life starting about a week or two after surgery, and you’ll get to see your chest on your first visit after surgery. However, it’s important to remember that you will continue to heal and that the appearance of your chest can shift for several months after surgery.
Post-surgical bruising and swelling are a normal part of the recovery process. Bruising and swelling can make it difficult to visualize what your chest will look like once it is fully healed. They usually peak within 48 hours of surgery and will remain for at least an additional 2 to 3 weeks. In some cases, it can take up to six months for all swelling to have completely resolved.
There are several ways to reduce the effects of bruising and swelling. Your surgeon will provide you with a special compression garment which should be worn at all times during recovery – up to 6 weeks, depending on your surgeon’s recommendations.
Other ways to reduce post-surgical bruising and swelling include:
The final outcome of your chest reconstruction top surgery will greatly depend on the techniques used during your procedure. The keyhole technique removes less tissue and no skin from the chest, which can make the final outcome less predictable. Your final chest contour may not be visible for several months.
In contrast, the double incision method removes more skin and tissue, and also allows your surgeon to resize and reposition your nipples, thus giving the surgeon more control over the final appearance. The outcome from the double incision method will be more readily visible immediately after surgery, but it will still be another several months before the final outcomes are apparent.
Every patient is different, but permanent scarring is an inevitable consequence of surgery. Initially, your scars will appear raised and likely will be a different color than the rest of your skin. They will gradually fade and flatten over the course of 12 to 18 months.
The size and shape of your scars will depend on the techniques used during your chest surgery as well as your body’s natural inclination towards scarring. Your surgeon will discuss scar placement with you during your consultation.
Chest reconstruction top surgery can greatly improve quality of life for people who undergo it. As long as you collaborate with your surgeon about realistic expectations and are adequately informed, you will likely be happy with your final outcome!