After Your Operation

On this page, you can read all about what to expect during your hospital stay. Or, just click on one of the links below, to get the answer you want right now.


  • You will wake up in the Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU) and stay there for 1 – 2 hours.
  • Once you are ready to leave the PACU, you will be moved to the Breast Restoration and Plastic Surgery Inpatient Unit. For the first 18 to 24 hours, you will be in the Step-Down Unit for close observation.
  • You will be attached to some or all of these tubes:
    IV – We usually take the IV out as soon as you can drink fluids and pass gas.
    Oxygen – Oxygen helps you breathe. We use either nasal prongs or a clear plastic mask.
    Catheter – We will insert a foley catheter into your bladder in the operating room once you are asleep. This will help drain your urine to prevent your bladder getting distended. This will be removed the next day (within 24 hours).
    Patient Controlled Analgesic (PCA) – This is a pain pump that is attached to the IV initially after operation. You will have a button, where you can press to self-administer pain medication.
  • The nurses will give you a medication through the IV (antibiotics, anti-nausea).
  • Once you are eating and drinking, we will prescribe pain pills that can be taken as needed and the PCA will be disconnected.
  • Initially after your operation you may feel drowsy and tired.
  • You may experience some pain at your surgical sites and/or nausea. We will manage your symptoms with medications.
  • You may feel some tightness in your buttocks.
  • After a breast reconstruction operation, it is normal to feel stiff in your back, chest, shoulders and arms.
  • It is important to do range of motion exercises post-operatively to encourage circulation.
  • The following day after your operation you will be up to chair and moving slowly.
  • At the end of your hospital stay you will be able to do light activities of daily living (e.g., walking, toileting, getting dressed, personal hygiene).
  • You can expect to be in the hospital for 3 to 4 days. Your health care team will talk to you about your stay once you're out of the PACU.

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