Planning your Mastectomy Surgery

Once a mastectomy becomes necessary, it is important to discuss any questions or concerns you may have during the consultation sessions with your breast cancer surgeon. Find out as much as you can about mastectomy surgery. Use resources such as the internet, libraries, and breast cancer organisations. Investigate your options with regards post-operative breast reconstruction. Local breast cancer support groups are an important source of information.

If you are smoking it is important to stop immediately, as smoking lengthens the time it takes for you to recover from your mastectomy. Your breast care surgeon will usually tell you to avoid taking aspirin and anything containing aspirin or ibuprofen for up 2 weeks before your breast surgery. These medications increase the risk of bleeding during a breast mastectomy.

Discuss any herbal remedies you are taking with your breast surgeon, as many herbal supplements cause bleeding. Alcohol should also be avoided for a period before and after your mastectomy.

In order to make your stay in hospital following your mastectomy more comfortable, remember to pack the following items:

  • Comfortable and loose fitting clothing and pyjamas, toiletries and anything else you may need, such as a book or tissues.
  • Identification, and any medications you are using.
  • Be sure to leave valuable such as jewelry at home.

Remember to refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight on the day of your mastectomy surgery.

The average time for mastectomy surgery is one to three hours, and you will usually be required to remain in hospital for a day or two following your breast cancer surgery.

You should plan to avoid strenuous activity including heavy lifting until the breast surgery stitches are removed, although walking is a normal activity and can be started straight away. Housework and driving will need to be avoided until the drain is removed and you feel safe turning the steering wheel and stopping suddenly.

Most people plan returning to work within three to six weeks following a mastectomy, although this does depend on your type of work and general health.

    Need medical advice?

    Schedule an appointment for the same day or within 48 hours with an urgent GP referral.

    GP referral is required for all appointments except for mammogram screening.

    Call us on 0800 78 62 75
    or 09 520 0389


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