Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care: School of Medicine: University of California, Irvine

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Health Facts

Plastic Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

What to expect for Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Types of anesthesia

General anesthesia, that means you will know what is going on when the surgery starts till you arrive to the recovery room. Occasionally, you may experience sore throat after surgery but it should improve over the next 24 hours after surgery.

Day of discharge

Patient may go home same day. In some instances, the patient may spend over night or few days in the hospital.

What to expect after surgery and post-surgical care

  • Pain and discomfort: you will experience pain at the locations where the incisions are made.
  • A drainage catheter may be in place to remove excessive fluid from the surgical site. You should keep it in place until your doctor removes it.
  • Taking your temperature two to three times a day
  • Your doctor will give you the instruction for the wound and drainage care
  • The reconstruction does not restore your normal sensation but some feeling may return
  • If you have silicone gel implant, you may require a regular MRI scan
  • If you have mastectomy and reconstruction, you may experience some emotional changes that may require some psychologically support.
  • It may take as long as 1 to 2 years for tissues to heal and scars to fade, but the scars never totally go away.
  • Please ask your surgeon when you can go back to wearing regular bras (underwire and lace bras may not be comfortable)
  • It may take up to several weeks for bruising and swellings to go away
  • No bending, lifting heavy things for one week

Activities (Please follow the detailed instructions given by your doctor)

  • Rest and increase your activities gradually over time
  • Follow your surgeon's advice on when to begin stretching exercises and normal activities. As a rule, you'll want to avoid any overhead lifting, strenuous sports, and sex for 4 to 6 weeks after reconstruction.

When to contact a doctor

  • Fever greater than 100.5°F
  • Redness around the wound or foul smell discharge/drainage from the wound
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting

Facial Flap Reconstruction Surgery

What to Expect for a Facial Flap Reconstruction Surgery

Types of anesthesia

General anesthesia, that means you will not know what is going on when the surgery starts. Occasionally, you may experience sore throat after surgery but it should improve over the next 24 hours after surgery.

Day of discharge

Patient may go home same day. In some instances, the patient may spend over night or few days in the hospital.

What to expect after surgery and post-surgical care

  • Pain and discomfort: you will experience pain at the locations where the incisions are made. Pain medication is usually given through the intravenous line but as you can consume food, the pain medication will be switch to orally. The severity of pain should decrease 72 hours after surgery.
  • A drainage catheter may be in place to remove excessive fluid from the surgical site. You should keep it in place until your doctor removes it.
  • Taking your temperature two to three times a day
  • Your doctor will give you the instructions for the wound and drainage care
  • The reconstruction does not restore your normal sensation but some feeling may return
  • Bruising and swelling are to be expected after the surgery
  • It may take up to several weeks for bruising and swellings to go away
  • Your eyelids may be swollen if the forehead or cheeks have been dermabraded. These symptoms will peak within the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery, and will gradually subside over the next 7 to 10 days.
  • To minimize the swelling, you should sleep with your head elevated for 3 weeks after the surgery

Activities (Please follow the detailed instructions given by your doctor)

  • No driving and operating heavy machinery
  • Rest and increase your activities gradually over time
  • Avoid bending or lifting heavy things for one week. Besides aggravating swelling, this may raise your blood pressure and start bleeding. No lifting over 5 pounds the first week, 25 pounds the second week.
  • Avoid hitting and bumping your face and eyes. It is wise not to pick up small children, and you should sleep alone for one or two weeks after your operation.
  • Avoid sunning the face for 1 year. Whenever you go out in the sun, use at least an SPF 15 sunscreen.
  • You may take a shower or bath the day after surgery. Do not be afraid to get suture lines wet but avoid strong water pressure.
  • You may have your hair washed at a salon or wash it gently yourself 24 hours after your surgery. Do not use the usual heat type hair dryer; use the cap type or blow dryer set on cool setting.
  • Please follow your surgeon’s instructions of what to do or not do

When to contact a doctor

  • Significant pain or worsening of pain after 48 hours
  • Fever greater than 100.5°F
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Redness around the wound or foul smell discharge/drainage from the wound

Septoplasty Surgery

What to Expect for a Septoplaty Surgery

Types of anesthesia

Topic anesthesia with or without sedation or general anesthesia, that means you may or may not know what is going on when the surgery starts till you arrive to the recovery room. Occasionally, you may experience sore throat after surgery but it should improve over the next 24 hours after surgery.

Day of discharge

Patient can go home same day.

What to expect after surgery and post-surgical care

  • Pain and discomfort: you will experience pain in your nose. Pain medication is usually given through the intravenous line but as you can consume food, the pain medication will be switch to orally.
  • Take pain and/or antibiotic medications as directly by your doctor
  • Nostril packing (Your doctor will let you know whether you can remove it yourself)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Snoring louder
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Do not use saline or nasal spray because it can facilitate crust formation and cause pain. Only use the spray prescribed by your doctor.
  • Restrict your diet to liquid diet and soft food that does not require chewing
  • Sitting and sleeping on your back with your head well elevated (using several pillows or sleep in a recliner)
  • A drainage catheter may be in place to remove excessive fluid from the surgical site. You should keep it in place until your doctor removes it
  • No sneezing or pick at the nasal crusts- the crust can be soften with 3% hydrogen peroxide and removed it with cotton swab
  • Avoid bending and lifting heavy things for one week

Activities (Please follow the detailed instructions given by your doctor)

  • Rest and increase your activities gradually over time
  • No strenuous exercise for about 2 weeks
  • You may bathe as you wish

When to contact a doctor

  • Fever of more then 100.5°F
  • Develop excessive facial redness and swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting for several hours