What should I expect during recovery after breast reconstruction? January 25, 2023 Following your DIEP flap breast reconstruction, you may need to stay in a surgical facility for an average of three to five days. Luckily, you’ll be able to consume food the next day and will start moving around with assistance. Your DIEP flap surgeon, Dr. Cara Downey or Dr. Bullocks, will advise you against doing any heavy lifting or high-intensity activities for up to 8 weeks following your breast reconstruction surgery. Soreness, swelling, and bruising are to be expected for about two to four weeks following your breast reconstruction. Dr. Downey will provide you with a detailed list of post-operative care instructions prior to your procedure so you can prepare for your breast reconstruction recovery in advance.