Consulting Surgeons

POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
LUMPECTOMY WITH AXILLARY DISSECTION

  1. Pain medication. Local anesthesia has been used in the wound and will last for 6-8 hours. Afterwards, you may take either the prescription pain pill or Extra-Strength Tylenol. It is not necessary to take pain medication unless you have pain.

  2. Activity.You need not restrict your activities except for your comfort, and you may return to work as soon as you feel able. You may drive when you are no longer taking prescription pain medications and can move your arms without hesitation. Do not begin the arm/ shoulder exercises until instructed by the doctor.

  3. Wound care. Your skin incisions have been covered with a type of glue which appears as a semi-transparent film. No bandages are necessary. There is no need to place a bandage on the wound unless there is drainage or if your clothing rubs against the incision causing irritation. Do not immerse the incision underwater until approved by the doctor. Wear a support bra, day and night, for about a week. This relieves some of the tension on the incision and helps to support the breast while it heals.

    You will develop some swelling and bruising along the incision. To reduce the swelling, you may use an ice pack over the bandage or on top of your clothing for 20 minutes at a time 3 times a day for the first 2 days after surgery. The bruising is of no concern as long as the breast remains soft and there is not too much discomfort. Contact the doctor immediately if the bruising is associated with hardening of the breast and increasing pain.

  4. Drain care. There is a small silicone drain which drains out the fluid which accumulates in the armpit after surgery. The drain will stay in place anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. The nurses in the hospital will show you how to measure and empty the drainage. Record the amount of drainage that empties into the squeeze bottle on a daily basis,using the form to write down the date, time, and the amount. Try to do the measurements at the same times each day. The doctor uses this information to determine when it is safe to remove the drain.

  5. Followup. Call the office when you get home for an appointment about 3 days after surgery to check the wound and to examine the drainage. Bring the record of drainage along with you. Please keep track of how many prescription pain pills you take, and for how many days.

  6. Pathology. It generally takes about 2 working days before the results of the pathology are known. The doctor will call you with the results when they become available. If you have not heard from the office after 3 business days, you may call for the results.

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Updated 10-3-06 Id

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