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Recovering From Breast Surgery

Maybe you noticed a lump in your breast or your mammogram results were abnormal. Or perhaps you’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis and you’re learning more about the treatment options available to you.

If you’re facing a benign and malignant breast condition, breast surgery may be your best option. When we identify a lump or abnormality, we may recommend a biopsy. Lumpectomy and mastectomy are common surgical procedures to remove breast cancer. 

Just as with any surgical procedure, the thought of breast surgery can be scary. But Elvira Klause, MD, specializes in biopsy, lumpectomy, and mastectomy. Our team tailors your procedure to meet your needs and to help you achieve your best possible health. 

If you need breast surgery for cancer or a non-cancerous breast condition, trust your care to Dr. Klause and our surgical team. Read on to learn more about what recovery is like after you’ve had breast surgery.

What to expect immediately after breast surgery

A biopsy can take between 20 minutes to an hour from start to finish. Lumpectomy surgery may take up to 40 minutes, and mastectomy generally takes about three hours or longer to complete.

As soon as Dr. Klause closes your incision, you’re moved to a recovery room. Over the next several hours, our team monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs as you wake up from the general anesthesia. 

Biopsy and lumpectomy patients can expect to go home the same day. If you had a mastectomy without reconstruction, you may be able to go home the same day, but reconstruction could mean a longer stay in the hospital.

Many types of breast surgery require a drain to prevent fluid buildup in your body. The drain may be located near your breast or armpit to collect fluid. Sometimes we remove the drain before you leave the hospital, but you may need to keep it for 1-3 weeks after surgery.

Before you leave the hospital, Dr. Klause gives you instructions for caring for your incision, bandages, and drain. She may prescribe pain medication to help manage discomfort in the days following surgery. 

Caring for yourself at home

You need to have a friend or family member drive you home after breast surgery. In general, it’s OK to walk as soon as you get home, but it may take several weeks before you feel strong enough to return to your regular activities. And your body continues adjusting in the coming months.

Avoid exercise or lifting your arm until we remove your drain and Dr. Klause clears you for activity. We may be able to recommend gentle exercises to help prevent arm and shoulder stiffness as you recover. 

If you have a surgical drain, you need to empty it several times a day. Record the amount of fluid each time you empty it and follow our team’s instructions to care for it properly.

Follow up after breast surgery

Attend all of your follow-up appointments. At your first appointment after breast surgery, Dr. Klause may remove your bandages. Any sutures that she used to close your incision dissolve on their own over time. If Dr. Klause used staples, we remove them after your incision begins healing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends as you recover from breast surgery. Get plenty of rest and continue doing doctor-approved exercises to keep your arms flexible. If you have any questions or notice signs of infection, reach out to our team.

When you’re faced with breast cancer or other breast condition, you could need breast surgery to protect your health. Call our office in San Clemente, California, or use our online system to request an appointment.

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