Expanders - how much time off work do I need to recover?

Hi all
I just had an expander reconstruction last week and was told that I shouldnt drive for 4-6 weeks. I was thinking of getting back to work in 2.5 weeks, because I felt bad about having taken previous time off for my initial mastectomy.

Is this unreasonable? Does anyone have experience with this post-reconstruction? I would love to hear how much time others have taken off so I don’t feel like I am being cheeky by asking for too much or feel as though I am in too much pain or too weak by going back too soon

i was told id need a couple of weeks off… im due to have Mx and expander recon next year and my PS said id be likely to need a couple of weeks to recover compared to flap surgery which would be a couple of months.#

but ultimatley it depends how you feel post op and if you have any complications as that may delay your return.

good luck


Hi Ladies,
It was interesting to read u talk about recon surgery, as im due to have mine in Sept. I was told by my PS that it would take a few mnths to recover.

What type of recon surgery have u had or having? And how long were u in hosp?

Take care

thanks for your comments. last year i had an absolutely nightmare of a mastectomy plus diep reconstruction – my op was 23 hours long and they kept me under anaesthetic for 2 days only to wake me up to sign a consent form to have the flaps removed in another surgery.

then because my abdominal wound kept getting infected in hospital i had 4 debridements – ultimately i was in the hospital for over 5 weeks and ended up with no breasts (it was a prophylactic mastectomy)

this time, i opted not to go for the LD flap which was suggested by my original PS – I got a second opinion and they said they would prefer to split into 2 surgeries – surgery 1 would be expanders and surgery 2 would be implant replacement plus fixing the abdominal would they ultimately left open last year

so last time i was off for 3 months, and this time i thought, given that i have a slightly more involved op coming up once skin has expanded, i would only need a couple of weeks, but seriously i am really exhausted right now (although a lot can change in 2 wks, so i thought it would be really helpful to understand how much time other people needed

i had MX with expander implant fitted in Jan - i didn’t go back to work (as chemo was about to start) but i personally wouldn’t have been able to go back before about 1month. As Lulu says i think its very variable - in my case a lot of the discomfort was caused by the pocket under the chest wall being very tight for the expander so there was no inflation done at MX which i believe they usually try to do. I was driving in 4 wks and reckon i could probably have gone back to work at that time if i had chosen to. Good luck


Hi akansha

Here’s the link to our reconstruction publication which you may find helpful to read:


In addition, our information about reconstruction says that recovery times can really vary, depending on the type of procedure you’ve had. You will get advice from your medical team, which will give you a better idea of what you can expect. You can also call our helpline to talk it through 0808 800 6000. One thing to bear in mind with driving is that you need to speak to your insurers, as they might have rules about how soon after a procedure you can drive.

Best wishes