What To Expect After Surgery
One of the most common questions patients will ask after we decide on the surgery, after we decide on their treatment plan: “What do I expect? What can I do? What can I not do?” Well, a lot of it has to do with the type of surgery that’s recommended between you and your surgeon.
Patients who receive lumpectomy or partial mastectomy will usually have two incisions, sometimes one depending on the location of the tumor to the lymph node. Those are usually small incisions. Most surgeons will put sutures under the skin. They’ll use some type of dressing, whether it’s a surgical glue or a Steri-Strip or a combination of both. Those patients usually can go about their normal activity a day or two after surgery, not a whole lot of limitations.
We do tell patients not to do any heavy lifting or really physical exertion like exercising or lifting weights for about a week or two, but you can do most things. Most patients can do sponge baths a day or two after surgery, and they can do a full shower usually after the second day. If we’re using glue or dressings, after a couple of days, those incisions are pretty much intact.
Patients who have mastectomies, their recovery is a little bit longer. It’s a much bigger incision, especially if you had reconstruction done after that. Some of those patients will even have drains. These are little tubes that come out of the skin and have a little bubble in the end. And what those drains are for is to collect the fluid that builds up after we remove a large area of tissue, i.e. the breast, the body likes to fill that up with fluid, and that keeps that fluid from building up. Those patients, we usually say you can sponge bath and do showers after a couple of days, but not to do any really physical activity, heavy lifting, for at least two weeks or until the drains are out. So those patients have a little bit longer of a recovery time, but the same applies, just use good common sense.
1. Patients who receive lumpectomy or partial mastectomy usually can go about their normal activity a day or two after surgery.
2. Most patients can do sponge baths a day or two after surgery, and a full shower after the second day.
3. If glue or dressings are used, the incisions are pretty much intact after a couple of days.
4. Recovery is a bit longer for mastectomies, especially with reconstruction – some patients will have drains, which are little tubes that come out of the skin with a little bubble in the end.
5. Patients with drains can sponge bath and do showers after a couple of days, but not any real physical activity or heavy lifting for at least two weeks or until the drains are out.