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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Before breast reconstruction surgery

Your surgeon will see you in the plastic surgery clinic. They will discuss surgical techniques, the desired outcomes, risks of the surgery and recovery. Please raise any questions or concerns you have. After that you may be seen at a pre­admission clinic. Bring along any prescribed and over-the-counter medications you're taking.

Before surgery you'll talk with your anaesthetist, who will review your health and medication details. You can read more about Preparing for your operation and Having an anaesthetic.

People with nicotine in their bodies have more complications from breast reconstruction surgery. Unless you've been nicotine free for at least three months before surgery, it's unlikely you'll be offered surgery.

Nicotine free means not smoking, not using nicotine replacement therapy and not vaping products that contain nicotine.

Being nicotine free helps you to heal better after the operation. It also reduces the risks that go with having an anaesthetic. If you need help to quit smoking, use the resources on How to become smokefree.

Women who are very overweight have more complications from breast reconstruction surgery. If your body mass index (BMI) is over 35, you'll probably be advised to lose weight before being offered surgery. For more information about losing weight, see Tips to help you lose weight.

When you come into hospital for your operation:

Breast nurses

Breast nurses coordinate the care of women with newly diagnosed breast conditions. They also provide education, psychological support and wound care management. They can be a first point of contact for you and your family during treatment.

If you're being treated at Christchurch Hospital, you can contact the breast nurse on (03) 364‑1804, 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Thursday and 8 am to 12 noon Friday.

On the next page: During breast reconstruction surgery

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury DHB Plastic Surgery Department. Last reviewed November 2020. Last updated February 2021.


See also:

Overview of surgery

Page reference: 85847

Review key: HIBRC-85838