Recovery from DIEP Flap Surgery
It is important for patients to recognize that DIEP Flap surgery is a relatively complicated procedure that involves incisions at multiple locations on the body. To optimize recovery from DIEP Flap surgery, patients must be prepared to take a proactive role in the process, both before and after the surgery. Motivated, active patients can expect to enjoy shorter recovery times with fewer complications.
Recovery from any surgery is optimized when a patient is physically active and in excellent overall health before the procedure. In the weeks leading up to a DIEP Flap surgery, patients are advised to increase their level of physical activity and to refrain from taking hormones, aspirin, and other medications that may cause blood thinning or other complications. Patients who practice deep breathing techniques before undergoing surgery may also have a more comfortable experience during the recovery period.
The first 48 hours after a DIEP Flap surgery are often the most challenging for patients. During this period, patients generally require a great deal of personal attention from our nursing staff, all of whom are specially trained to optimize our patients’ comfort and accelerate the recovery process. Patients are strongly encouraged to become mobile as quickly as possible to improve blood circulation and reduce the likelihood of complications such as deep vein thrombosis. By the third day after the surgery, most patients are able to walk, and patients usually return home by the fourth or fifth day after the procedure.
Though abdominal swelling may persist for several weeks after a DIEP Flap surgery, patients can generally expect to be up and walking normally within 10-14 days after their procedure. Most patients can comfortably return to work within 3-4 weeks after a DIEP Flap surgery, though many patients choose to avoid strenuous exercise until two months after the procedure. Patients who work diligently to maximize their health and mobility can expect to accelerate their recovery, allowing them to return quickly to their busy lives.