Breast Flap Preparation - General Instructions

When you plan your upcoming breast reconstruction after mastectomy in New York, you will feel more comfortable and confident with the process if you take the time to ensure that you meet the day with a prepared mind and a healthy body. The following general recommendations help patients achieve both of these goals and, ultimately, help ensure a positive outcome for their procedure.


To prepare your body for optimal healing, you can begin taking one multi-vitamin daily during the two weeks before your breast cancer reconstruction surgery. Otherwise, you may continue with a normal, healthy diet until the night prior to surgery. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery.


Keep your body in as good a shape as possible in preparation for your surgery. If you have the opportunity to engage in daily exercise such as walking, jogging, or swimming, these activities can help. Depending on your age, past medical history, and what procedure you will be having, you may require a pre-operative evaluation by your internist. Such a pre-operative evaluation will provide us and your anesthesiologist with the medical clearance that may be necessary prior to your surgery.


Your body needs a healthy circulatory system at the time of your breast reconstruction surgery. Because cigarette smoke impairs the circulation by tightening your blood vessels, we strongly recommended that you not smoke or be in a closed area with smokers in the weeks prior to your surgery. This precaution will also make your lungs healthier and aid your recovery from anesthesia. Since some of the negative effects of cigarette smoking result from their nicotine content, you must also avoid nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gums.


Certain medications must be avoided prior to surgery as they may increase bleeding. Make sure to inform us about what medications you take regularly. For at least two weeks before your breast reconstruction surgery, do not take aspirin or other medications that contain acetylsalycic acid (Excedrin, Anacin, etc.). Also discontinue any other anti-inflammatory pain medications (e.g., Motrin, Advil, Naprosyn, etc.), as these affect bleeding and may compromise your recovery.

Some patients require steroid therapy for pre-existing medical problems such as asthma. These medications can affect wound healing and increase the risk of infection after surgery, so please inform us if you are currently or have recently taken steroid medications. We take every precaution to minimize your surgical risk, so we will assess whether it will be necessary to adjust your doses slightly at the time of your surgery.

General Surgical Risks

Elective surgery and anesthesia are both extremely safe when appropriate preoperative measures are taken. Certain normal physiological changes occur during and after breast reconstruction surgery, and it is our goal to ensure that your body will respond appropriately to these changes. Dr. Keller and our highly trained staff also take special measures to minimize any potential risks of surgery by working to prevent complications. Such preventive foresight begins with your preoperative evaluation in our office.

Potential surgical risks that we work to prevent include infection and bleeding. Other risks related to the particular procedure you will be having will be discussed more specifically with you during your pre-operative consultation. Any previous coexisting medical problems, such as chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, or kidneys may affect your potential surgical risks. There are also specific risks related to diabetes, smoking, and the use of steroids.

Special Concerns for Patients with Diabetes

Individuals with diabetes may require more careful monitoring before and after their surgery. Because of the metabolic changes that occur with breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy, changes in blood sugar levels may require us to adjust your insulin doses or oral medications slightly. These adjustments will vary from individual to individual and will compensate for blood sugar changes during surgery as well as during periods when food is not allowed.

The risk of infection is slightly greater for the diabetic, as a result of diabetes-related changes in blood flow and in immune function. We take appropriate precautions to minimize your risk of postoperative problems and ensure a healthy recovery.

During your pre-operative visits to our office we will take the time to address each of your questions regarding your upcoming breast reconstruction surgery. Should you have further questions before your procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can discuss them fully prior to your surgery. If you would like to learn more about the surgical process, please request a phone consultation with Dr. Keller, renowned specialist in breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

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