Three Tips for Caring for Your Skin After Breast Cancer Surgery
1 year ago

While breast cancer surgery, such as a lumpectomy or mastectomy, is frequently standard, the following healing period largely depends on the person. This is because surgical incisions take four to six weeks to heal after surgery, and the skin needs at least a year to soften.

We approached a top dermatologist, a wound care specialist, and a breast surgeon for their skin-care advice. Continue reading to learn more about this critical aspect of prospering after surgery.

1. Let Your Body Heal

To protect your skin after surgery, avoid lifting, pushing, and pulling for many weeks.

The more you move, the more probable it is that you may have issues with your drains, which are small tubes put in the chest and underarms to allow accumulated fluid to escape after surgery.

Though your skin may appear purple, red, or bruised following surgery, she advises against using topical treatments in or around your sutures. Instead, you can apply petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, or an antibiotic ointment once or twice daily straight away if your doctor recommends it. Your healthcare professional may also advise you to use silicone gel — some of which is available in strip form — to treat any wound once the skin has healed completely.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Skin

Healing problems can occur after a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, or even a biopsy (though this is less usual). This could be because you were exposed to radiation, are prone to infection, or have an antibody problem that you are unaware of.

Whatever the cause, any skin changes should be reported to your surgeon very away. This involves pus seeping from the wound or an area that has turned black, indicating skin necrosis to the wound.

Fortunately, there are treatments that can help with wound healing, according to Brem. Topicals such as MediHoney, a gel wound and burn dressing, and Iodosorb, an antibacterial gel, are examples. FlexHD Structural, a biologic derived from human tissue, is another option; collagen treatments that support new blood vessel formation and the removal of damaged tissue from a wound; and there's even the possibility of receiving allograft tissue, tissue transplanted from one person to another, to help you heal.

The sooner you report any wound problem, the better your results will be. Depending on how severe the problem is, you may need to consult with a specialist.

You should see someone who has a lot of experience with wounds. Most gifted plastic surgeons are unlikely to see many complicated wound healing concerns, so you want to find the finest expert to help you as soon as possible.

3. Be Gentle With Your Skin

If you choose breast reconstruction with implants, you should be aware of potential complications such as skin thickening and stiffness.

Capsular contracture occurs because the rim of skin and fat is so thin and the implant underlying is rigid and nonliving tissue. As a result, the skin and scar around the implant tighten. When there is no healthy living tissue beneath the skin, you will always be fighting the skin's desire to contract and stiffen.

Wait several months before administering any topical product to your incisions to treat the skin.

Pad the area surrounding your drains to reduce straining and tugging or pressure sores caused by the drain tubing pinching the skin.

Keep the skin as dry as possible, and consider tucking a square of a clean cotton T-shirt around the drain entry point for added comfort and to help reduce irritation.

Following breast surgery, the skin becomes extremely sensitive. Therefore, make it a point to treat the entire region as carefully as possible.