My Timeline of Top Surgery & Recovery with Dr. Raphael in Plano, Texas.
This is just a master post of my top surgery experience & recovery. I had double incision mastectomy with nipple grafts in Feb of 2016. I also had lipo. The total was $6,750 ($6,000 for the masc and $750 for the lipo on the sides.)
Pictures will be made available at request.
- Because I do not live in the Plano area I drove 5 hours to Plano the day before my surgery and had my pre-op apt that same day.
- At pre-op I met with one of the nurses and with Dr. Raphael. This is your opportunity to talk to him about your chest, incisions, to bring up concerns and so on. In my case, my mom asked all the questions because she wasn’t as versed as I was on what was going on.
- At pre-op they give you a lot of things to sign, they take before photos, and just go over the basic run down of everything you need to do before surgery.
- Try to plan your pre-op apt as early as possible that day. You will have to go get your prescriptions the day before your surgery and you don’t want to run into the pharmacy closing on you or any issues with the pharmacy not accepting the scripts. I went to Walgreens to get mine filled and they gave me a hard time which led to an hour run around between Walgreens and the doctors office.
- I was prescribed extra medicines because I had issues with nausea in previous surgeries. If you have concerns about nausea tell the nurse at your pre op and they will get you what you need to prevent you from getting sick. They will walk you through possible medicines you may need based on your medical history and/or allergies you have.
- The anesthesiologist will call you the night before your surgery. They will tell you not to eat anything too heavy for dinner and to make sure it is pretty bland. I couldn’t eat any dairy either. Also, clear liquids for the most part. Of course they advised me not to eat after 10pm for safety.
- Make sure you have a support system with you. First of, you can not have surgery without someone to be with you but I took my mom, my best friend and his brother with me. The surgery center also will not let you have surgery without people to care for you afterwards.
- Pack or get yourself some button up shirts. You will not be able to get into t-shirt well if at all that first week or so. If you are trying to get into t-shirts that first week you will more than likely pull something as you are not supposed to be lifting your arms at all. (Think about the arm range of a T-Rex. That will be you.)
- I am a pretty hairy individual so I shaved my chest a couple days prior to surgery. About a week before surgery you should start prepping your body for surgery. You will wash your chest with Betadine Skin Cleanser. You should get this information when you set your surgery date. If you don’t get it, email the office.
- You will take 500mg of Vitamin C daily in addition to any multi vitamin you may be taking. DO NOT take any extra Vitamin E because it may cause some bleeding.
- Do NOT take any aspirin or ibuprofen one week prior to surgery and up to two weeks after surgery. (i.e. Bufferin, Anacin, Advil, Motrin, Datril, Excedrin, Anacin-free, etc.)
- NO SMOKING. Especially 1 week prior and two weeks after surgery.
- Also, you will have to stop testosterone 2 weeks prior to surgery.
- My surgery was at 7am and lasted about 3 hours according to my best friend.
- When you get there you will check in at surgery check in desk on your right after you go through the doors.
- When they call you back you will change out of your clothes into the hospital gown and socks. (I took this opportunity to take my last selfie in my binder.)
- You then will be escorted to your surgery bed. The nurses will get you all cozy and warm (I personally overheat easily so I had to have them cool me down a little bit) and start your IV. The anesthesiologist will make an appearance to just walk you through some things. Dr. Raphael will also come in and draw the incision marks and other surgery related things on you.
- After everything they will use your IV to put you to sleep and start wheeling you to the surgery room. I remember being wheeled to the back and everyone being all smiles. I knocked out right when then they put me on the surgery table.
- I woke up and I only remember them asking me if I wanted something to drink (sprite? ginger ale?). I also remember being wheeled out to the car and my best friend and his brother getting me in the car. I remember being placed in the bed in the room. I remember taking a post op selfie and being able to use the restroom by myself.
- Wearing sweat pants and/or athletic shorts are a must after surgery.
- My first meal after surgery was mashed potatoes and gravy. Something pretty light is always best.
- You can only sleep on your back and you have to sleep elevated.
- I personally had a problem staying awake the first 3 days after surgery or so. I would fall asleep in the middle of doing things.
- You will have a post op the day after surgery. Here they will teach you and whoever taking care of you how to care for your dressings for the next week.
- Your chest is dressed with pads to soak any blood from your incisions. If you had lipo you will have a half pad on those entry points below incisions. Over that is 2 ace bandages that are wrapped tight to deal with swelling. (They are meant to be tight but if you have trouble breathing then loosen them. They are there for support.) The ace bandages will be wrapped over your chest and your lipo points. The ace bandages stay on majority of the time unless you are changing the pads. DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR TAPES OR ANY OTHER BANDAGES! Only change the pads once a day.
- Dr. Raphael does not use drains.
- I developed a minor rash around my lipo points because I had to much moisture there from the neosporin. If that happens to you stop putting the neosporin there.
- At your one week appointment they will remove the dressings and you will see your chest for the first time.
- Reveal day is very emotional for most people and I knew that I would forget everything that the nurses told me in terms of my continued aftercare. My tip is to have someone record the entire exchange so you can re-listen to the aftercare instructions later.
- At one week I was told I could drive again, I could sleep on my sides, I could shower again, and that I could wear t-shirts again. (I personally waited to drive longer than that though because I did not feel comfortable at all.)
- You will continue to wear the ace bandages for a month. It’s hard to think about binding after surgery but its to contain swelling, so don’t cheat your recovery.
- For your nipple care, you will be given Adaptic (non-adhering dressing) that is meant to keep your nips moist. you will apply some vasoline to the Adaptic. Then you cover that with a gauze pad and medical tape or fabric tape. (All things you can find in the first aid aisle at the store. The nurses will give you some to get started.) You will do this until you run out of the Adaptic they give you. Which should be about a month to 6 weeks.
- The tapes on your incisions will fall off on their own. Don’t pull them off. They should all fall off on their own around 4 weeks to 6 weeks.
- After they fall off you will place provided silicone strips for your scars for a while.
- At the time of surgery, I was delivering pizzas for a living. I will admit that I jumped the gun on returning to work too early. I ended up going back after 3 or 4 weeks. When you can go back is determined by what kind of work you can do.
- At 6 weeks, my left nipple looked to have healed wonderfully. I pulled the last of my visible sutures, as instructed, that day. My right nipple still had a little spot to heal but seemed to be healing just fine.
- If you have a hard time taking pills like I do. You can try taking them with apple sauce.
- Make sure you have Miralax and Fiber. Pooping after surgery is really important because the pain meds will stop you up.
- Don’t over do it. Sit down and rest. I am the type of person that will do everything but I can not stress how important it is to sit down and rest and not try to be Superman. Watch your range of motion, even if it feels, “just fine”. It will have effects on your healing.
- Netflix. Netflix. Netflix.
- I don’t hear this referenced too much but for those of you who play instruments, I play violin among others, I would suggest waiting the entire 6 weeks before playing again.
The nurses will honestly give you everything that you need for recovery. There is no need to worry about recovery supplies. They really give you everything. Make sure you read all of the paperwork they give you in terms of pre op and post op. I did have surgery in Feb of 2016 so things make have slightly changed. This is also MY experience and MY experience alone. My health is different than yours so please listen to the nurses and doctors. I shared my experience to help others have an idea on what to roughly expect.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me or send me asks!