Helpful Hints for the Recovery

 


At Home Recovery

Everyone's recovery time at home after mastectomy surgery will be different, expect it to last a few weeks.  It is important to take the time you need to heal and not try to do too many things to stress your body.  If possibly try to plan on having help from family members and friends during recovery.  Assistance with "daily" tasks like childcare and meals,  and "occasional" tasks like laundry and shopping.  This helps reduce stress and worries, allowing you to rest and heal.

Helpful Hints for the Recovery

CARING FOR THE BANDAGE/DRESSING OVER YOUR INCISION:

Your medical professional will provide information on how to care for the mastectomy bandage.  They may ask that you leave things in place until the follow-up visit.

CARING FOR A SURGICAL DRAIN:

 If you are discharged home with drainage tubes, be sure to get full instructions on how to empty and care for the drains and bulbs before you leave the hospital from you medical professionals.  Our post op camisoles are designed to hold  puff pads and pouches to hold the bulbs. Called post op camisoles, that are covered by most insurances. 

WHEN YOU CAN START WEARING A PROSTHESIS OR BRA:

The site of mastectomy surgery and reconstruction needs time to heal before you can wear a prosthesis or bra. The doctor will tell you how long you may need to wait.

STITCHES & STAPLES:

Many surgeons use sutures or stitches that dissolve over time rather than scheduling a separate visit for removal.  If you have staples or see any residual problems with stitches, let the medical professional know so they can remove them during your office visit.  Your medical professional will  describe the signs of infection and when to call the office. 

PAIN MEDICATION

As you are healing; expect to feel a mixture of pain and numbness around the incision, chest wall, armpit, and arm.  Always follow your doctor or pharmacist direction when using pain medication if prescribed. Doing light exercises  may help to reduce discomfort. As instructed by your physician.

RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF LYMPHEDEMA

If you have had lymph nodes removed, you will be given information on taking care of your arms and being alert to signs of lymphedema.  Lymphedema is the buildup of fluid called lymph in the tissues under  your skin when something blocks its normal flow. This causes swelling,  most commonly in an arm. Lymphedema is better pro-treated than post-treated.  Discuss this with your medical professional. 

Helpful Hints for the Recovery

GET PLENTY OF REST

Allow others to support your recovery, get extra rest the first few weeks after surgery.  This helps the body to heal faster when well rested.

Sponge Baths

Once you have your drains and any staples or sutures removes, you may resume showers or baths.  Until then, take sponge baths to stay fresh.

EXERCISE

Follow your medical team instructions for exercising.  Your medical professional will give you the type and amount of exercise you may do during recovery.  Daily exercises are important to reduce pain, avoid stiffness, helps to keep your arm(s) flexible, and reduces overall discomfort.

Sensations

Sensations After Mastectomy

  • Phantom sensation or pain in the months after surgery.  This may be due to healing, nerve regrowth, and general discomfort.
  • May feel weird, "crawly" sensations, itches, sensitivity and pressure; these may go away by themselves, or persist and you adapt to it.  Be sure to discuss any of these sensations with your medical professional.
  • Continue with your arm exercises and other routines as instructed by your medical professional to help keep you limber and improve your range of motion.  These serve to strengthen the surgical area to help prepare it for the eventual placement of a prosthesis if necessary.
  • Fatigue may also be experienced from time to time in the early months after surgery.  This is why rest is so important.  Excessive fatigue needs to be discussed with your medical professional.

 


FAQ

When do i need to wear a bra and prosthesis?

Your mastectomy site needs time to heal before you can wear a prosthesis or bra.  The medical professional will tell you how long you may need to wait or when you're ready to be fitted.  As a certified fitter, we prefer to see you when all of the bandages, steri strips, and scabs have completely gone away.   You can't be fitted if your surgical site is still swollen.

Your post surgical camisole is a soft undergarment that can be worn in the hospital immediately after surgery and offer pockets to hold a cotton puff pad and drainage tubes.  This can be worn until your medical professional approves you to be fitted with a mastectomy bra and prosthesis, approximately four to six weeks after surgery.  Everyone's healing time is different.

What Kinds of Breast Forms are Available?

The most popular style of prosthesis is the silicone prosthesis.  They come standard weight, light weight and ultra light weight.  These replicate the natural texture of the breast tissue.  They come in various styles and the colors of blush and tawny.


Prosthesis are also available in a foam form, a weighted foam form, beaded form, fiber filled form and a swim form.


The newest prosthesis is a CUSTOM MADE PROSTHESIS.  This is made out of a inert silicone that doesn't allow bacteria or fungus to harbor on the form.  It is designed especially for your chest wall to aid in the migration of the form.  It may be worn with any bra not necessarily in a pocketed bra.  Lighter in weight than a ultra light silicone and much more cooler to the body. 

What Can be Done for Breast Unevenness due to reconstruction?

  We carry a full line of partial forms that balance out your breast profile. Thus giving you more confidence and self esteem.   Many women undergo partial mastectomies or reconstruction.  Some women find that their natural breast and/or reconstructed breast differ in size and shape.  We offer partial prostheses to restore symmetry.  Most insurances  help cover the cost. 

CAN YOU SWIM WHILE WEARING A BREAST FORM?

 Yes.  Post surgical swimsuits have pockets to hold your breast prosthesis securely while swimming.  You have the choice to use a designated swim prosthesis that holds up in  chlorine or salt water and preserve your everyday prosthesis.  The every day silicone prosthesis may be  used also, making sure the proper cleaning techniques are followed once swimming is completed for the day.  

Will Insurance Cover my BREAST FORMS & Bras?

Medicare, Medcaid, and most Private Insurance plans will pay for your bras, camisoles, and breast forms after breast surgery.  The Bra Lady Boutique is participating with the following providers: AARP, Aetna, Anthem BCBS, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare, VA Premier, Piedmont Community Health Care and others. We verify your benefits and file your claim for you.  Remember, a prescription is required to file your insurance claim.  You will need a  new prescription annually  from your medical professional.  The prescription may be faxed to us at 434-793-5240 by your medical professional.

FAQ

I am Opting for Surgical Breast Reconstruction. Will I Need Your Services?

Many products at The Bra Lady Boutique are helpful for women undergoing breast reconstruction, including camisoles to wear at the hospital after surgery to provide comfortable support.  If your reconstruction is not performed at the same time as your mastectomy, you can use bras and prostheses in the interim. Also, some women find that their natural breast and reconstructed breast differ in size and shape. We offer partial prostheses to restore symmetry. Federal law requires that insurance pay for these items if needed, even after reconstruction, but you must have a prescription for it  be covered by insurance.

Do I Need an Appointment for a Bra Fitting?

YES. APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL TYPES OF FITTINGS AT THIS TIME.  We ask that you call to request an appointed time: 434-793-LADY (5239).  Allow approximately 1 hour for your consultation and fitting.  A current prescription for these items from your medical professional is required, along with your insurance cards and a photo ID.  We obtain other required information and signature at time of the appointment.  


AN  APPOINTMENT is needed when you come to be fitted for a post op camisole or leisure bra.  This may be done prior to surgery or afterwards.  A Prescription is needed to file this item with your insurance.

My Breasts Developed Unevenly. Do You Have Something That Will Work for me?

Our partial prostheses work well for women with a breast imbalance. Some, but not all, insurance companies will even cover the cost of a prosthesis for uneven breast development.

Can You Swim While Wearing Breast Prosthesis?

Yes.  Post surgical swimsuits have pockets to hold your breast prosthesis securely while swimming.  You have the choice to use a designated swim prosthesis that holds up in chlorine or salt water and preserve your every day prosthesis.  The silicone prosthesis may be used also, making sure that proper cleaning techniques are followed once swimming is completed for the day. 

When Should I Be Fitted?

 We recommend that you come in before your surgery and be fitted with a post-surgical camisole or leisure bra.  These soft, comfortable undergarments can be worn in the hospital immediately after surgery and offers pockets to hold a cotton shaper form, and pockets to hold your drainage tubes and bulbs. It is designed so you don't raise your arms to put it on. Your camisole can be worn until your surgeon approves you to be fitted with a mastectomy bra and breast form, usually four to six weeks after surgery.

More Information

 



How Can I Get Back to my Active Lifestyle After Breast Surgery?

The Bra Lady Boutique offers an active lifestyle breast form design called ActiveFlow. It has a nice blend of beads that do not absorb water and fast drying molded spacer fabric that is great for support and structure. It has a flattering, natural profile, whether active or lying down.

                                  ActiveFlow is ideal for activities such as:

  • EXERCISING
  • GARDENING
  • SWIMMING/WATER AEROBICS

  • YOGA
  • PILATES
  • JOGGING
  • BIKING

Couple this with the Cotton & CoolMax seamless Softcup bra that pulls moisture away from the skin, enhances the drying rate, so that air moves in to keep your body cool and dry. If you find this unsuitable, we have a variety of workout wear by other trusted brands.

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