Nipple Reconstruction Discharge Instructions
Instructions for Nipple Areolar Reconstruction Patients
- One may remove the ace wrap and shower 24 hours after surgery. It is best to avoid getting the sewn-on dressing wet if possible.
- Blow-drying the incisions and dressing with a blow drier set to “cool” after each shower is helpful. Place a hand near the air stream to ensure the temperature of the air to prevent burns to the area.
- Padding the incisions and sewn-on dressing with gauze and affixing the dressings with one of the soft stretch support bras is recommended once the ace wrap has been removed. Change the gauze daily.
- Avoid strenuous activity of the involved upper extremity/extremities for at least 2 weeks.
- Care of the nipple will be demonstrated at the first post-op visit. A thin layer of Vaseline or antibiotic ointment and a Telfa dressing will be used for the first 3-5 days. After 3-5 days, the Telfa dressing will be used without ointment.
- When the dressing is removed in the office, expect some bruising and discoloration. The nipple will shrink by at least one-half its size over the next few weeks. Please do NOT be alarmed by the initial appearance!
- Someone should stay with you the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Some drainage from the nipple/areolar reconstruction site may occur in 7-21 days post-op. This usually represents liquified fat cells and is not normally an indication of infection. Drying the area and allowing it to heal is usually what is required
- Do not participate in strenuous exercise for a period of 2-4 weeks following surgery. Do not do any heavy lifting or bending during this period of time.
- Sutures will be removed at your first appointment in the office.
- Swelling is expected and will persist for several weeks. Change may continue to occur up to one year as the soft tissue swelling subsides.
- All pain medication can cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach. Please take every dose with food to avoid this problem. A choice of pain medications has been provided. Please choose one and do not change unless a problem occurs with a particular medication or you wish to step down to a lesser strength narcotic. ALL pain medications cause constipation. Please use laxative or stool softeners as needed.
- Avoid trauma to the area for the next 10-12 weeks. Alter your activities accordingly.
- Driving may be resumed once one’s reaction times, reflexes, and abilities are back to “normal”. One cannot drive while taking narcotic pain relievers.
- Temperature elevations from 100-101 degrees in the first 2-4 days are common. This is due to collapse of the small air passages in the lungs after general anesthesia. This is best treated with deep breaths, increased walking and forcing a cough to re-expand the lungs.
- Activity should be gauged to how one feels. It is very common to tire easily after what you would normally consider to be minimal activity-pace yourself. Mood swings are common also. Don’t be discouraged-healing takes time.
- If you develop increased redness, warmth, pain, or temperature in excess of 101 degrees, please call our office and have your pharmacy’s phone number available.
Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns not addressed in this instruction sheet.