Mastectomy instructions

Instructions before Surgery (PREOPERATIVE):
This surgical procedure usually requires an overnight stay. If necessary, you may stay
1) Designate a driver. Medications given during your procedure slow your
response time. Please have a responsible adult accompany you or available to take you home. Going home by yourself in a taxi is not permitted. 2) Nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Your surgery will be cancelled if
you eat or drink after midnight on the night before your operation. Food in the stomach puts you at risk for breathing in (aspirating) food particles. You may take your daily morning medications with sips of water. If you take a blood thinner (Coumadin) or have diabetes, heart disease or other illness requiring medications, contact your surgeon or primary care physician for specific directions. 3) Do not take Aspirin. Refrain from taking aspirin, aspirin containing products,
“goody powders”, or vitamin E for 5 days prior to surgery. 4) Wear comfortable clothes. Wear clothes that are easy to put on. Tops or
dresses that are loose fitting and button or zip up the front are easier to slip over your surgical dressing. Postoperatively, you may be given a wireless bra to be worn over your dressings. You may also plan on bringing a sportsbra or front closure bra with you as this will be easier to wear immediately after surgery. Leave all valuables at home or with family/friends CD/Tape player and headphones, favorite music or book/magazine Important phone numbers Toiletries, bathrobe and slippers, nightwear that opens in the front, pillow
1) Medications/pain management
● Restart all of your regular medications unless specifically told otherwise. ● Rate your own level of discomfort/pain. It is easier to control pain by taking medications before the pain becomes severe. ● We recommend taking the following medications on a regular schedule. Tylenol 325mg 1-3 tabs every 6 hours for the first day and/or
Ibuprofen 200mg 1-3 tabs every 6 hours (with food)
Oxycodone 5mg 1-2 tabs every 3 to 4 hours as needed for
breakthrough pain

● Do NOT drink or drive while taking oxycodone.
● You may experience constipation while taking oxycodone. Increasing your fluid
intake or taking an over-the-counter stool softener may help. ● Ice packs may also help to reduce pain and swelling. They can be used every
3-4 hours for ten minutes at a time. Warm compresses are not to be used near the incision. ● Some women experience a sore throat from the ventilation tube used in the operating room. Lozenges or throat spray may help. 2) Incision and dressing care
A supportive bra may have been placed over your dressings. Wear your bra
for the next 3-4 days, it will help minimize postoperative bleeding and swelling.
You can even wear the bra to bed at night.
● If you have a dressing, it may consist of white gauze and tape. This dressing
may be removed in 2 days.
● Under the dressing, your incision has both sutures and steri-strips (small,
white, strips of tape) or sutures and special skin glue. The sutures will be asorbed
by your skin tissue over time. When used the surgical tapes, steri-strips, should
remain over your wound for 7-10 days. It is ok if the steri-strips fall off earlier.
The skin glue will gradually wear away.
● If your wound has skin glue, you may shower the day after your operation. If
your incision has steri strips and a bandage, the bandage may be removed two
days after surgery so that you can shower. In either case, no baths or soaking of
the wound (bath tub, hot tub, whirl pool, ocean) for 2 weeks.
Resume your regular diet as tolerated.
4) Activity
● Avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting (greater than 30 pounds) and vigorous exercise until seen in follow-up. ● Walking and most daily activity may be resumed the day after surgery. ● Most people return to desk-type work in 1-2 days. This will depend on how your feel and what type of work you do. 5) Follow-up Care
● Pathology results from your biopsy are usually available within 1 week. You will receive your results by phone or at your follow-up visit. ● If your follow-up appointment was not made prior to your surgery, please call the Hollings Cancer Center to schedule an appointment for 1-2 weeks after your surgery.
Contact the your surgical team at 843-792-2123 if:

Pain is not relieved by medication
Fever greater than 100◦F or chills
Persistent bleeding or drainage from your incision
Increasing redness of around the incision
Allergic or adverse drug reactions
Constipation, despite stool softener
Any other questions or concerns

If you are having/had an AXILLARY LYMPH NODE DISSECTION, here are
some additional
You will likely stay overnight or longer if necessary.
● You may want to bring these additional items: toiletries, bathrobe and slippers,
nightwear that opens in the front, pillow
1) Pain Management
● Ice packs are particularly helpful in decreasing armpit swelling and tenderness.
2) Dressing Care
You may have a Jackson-Pratt (JP) drain after your surgery. The drain consists of a
plastic tube with one end in your wound and the other end attached to a suction bulb.
Your nurse will teach you how to drain and record the drainage. You should receive JP
Instructions and a JP log.


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