Procedures: Mastectomy

After this procedure you can expect a scar across your chest where the breast was. No muscle is removed during this procedure. A drainage tube is usually inserted and you will be given instructions on how to take care of it. You may feel more comfortable if a visiting nurse comes to your home for a day or two until you and your family can care for the drain. You will probably have some numbness of the skin over the chest. This is normal and most of the time it will go away, although some persons have some permanent numbness around the scar. The drainage tube is usually removed after a week. Sometimes after removal, fluid can build up under the skin. If this occurs it may need to be drained. If you should notice any redness, pain, drainage from the incision or fever, please call the office.

You may remove the dressing over your incision at 48 hours after the surgery. You may shower at that time. Let the water gently run over the incision and then pat dry. Do not rub the incision or use soap on it.

If you have a clear plastic dressing over the incision you may shower at any time letting the water run over the incision and then patting the area dry. Please remove this dressing 48 hours after the surgery.

You will be provided with a prescription for a mild narcotic pain medication at the time of surgery. You may also take over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be advised that many common pain medications such as vicodin have acetaminophen in them. Please check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you are taking one of these so that you do not take too much acetaminophen.

If you also had a sentinel node biopsy or axillary node dissection as part of your procedure please refer to the instructions for those procedures as well.