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Tips for Recovering From Breast Surgery

Are you scheduled for breast surgery? Surgery can protect your health if you have a malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous) breast condition, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.

Whether you’re getting a biopsy, lumpectomy, or mastectomy, the thought of surgery can be nerve-wracking, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Elvira Klause, MD, and our surgical team specialize in breast surgeries.

We’re here to educate you about your surgery and what to expect after you return home. Read on for our best tips for recovering from breast surgery.

What to expect beforehand

Learning more about your surgery before it happens can help you feel more prepared. Dr. Klause performs breast surgery while you’re under anesthesia, but some procedures are more complex than others.

You may be able to go home the same day if you’re undergoing a biopsy or lumpectomy. If you’re having a mastectomy, you might stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery.

After surgery, you’ll likely have a surgical drain in place. Located near your breast or armpit, the drain minimizes fluid buildup around the surgery site. Most of the time, our patients keep the drain for several weeks, but we may remove it before you leave the hospital.

Prioritize rest

Depending on the type of surgery you have, our team may encourage you to get up and begin walking while you’re still in the hospital. You can walk once you go home, but plan to take it easy for several weeks after surgery.

Avoid reaching above your head, lifting heavy objects, or participating in strenuous activity until Dr. Klause tells you it’s OK. As your body heals, we give you gentle exercises to stretch your arms, build strength, and avoid stiffness.

Consider asking family members and friends for a little extra support in the weeks following breast surgery. You may be able to start driving again and reintroducing light household activities in 10-14 days, depending on the surgery you had and your recovery progress. 

Take care of your incisions and drain

You may need to keep your incisions clean and dry for up to one week after surgery. Dr. Klause explains how to care for your incision and change your bandages. You may need to avoid showering, and take baths or sponge baths instead.

If you returned home with a surgical drain, you need to care for it along with your incisions. Expect to empty it several times a day, making note of the fluid measurements each time. Fluid should decrease over time, and we generally remove the drain one to three weeks after surgery.

Go to your follow-up appointments

Your follow-up appointments are a crucial part of recovering from breast surgery. As you heal, we remove your bandages, check your incisions, and answer your questions.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re concerned about your progress during recovery. This includes pain management, changes in fluid drainage, and other symptoms that could indicate complications.

Breast surgery can be an effective option, whether you’re facing cancer or another breast condition. Find out more about what breast surgery involves at a consultation with Dr. Klause. Call our office in San Clemente, California, or request an appointment online today.

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