Consulting Surgeons

POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
TOTAL MASTECTOMY

  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. You may drive when you are no longer taking prescription pain medications and can move your arms without hesitation. In general, there is no need to favor the arm on the side of the mastectomy; you may use it for your normal daily activities. Do not begin the shoulder exercises until instructed by the doctor.

  3. Wound care. You may remove the outer bandage the day after surgery and shower. There are skin staples which will be removed in about one week. There is no need to place a fresh bandage on the wound unless there is drainage or if your clothing rubs against the incision causing irritation. You should keep a bandage over where the drain comes out. Do not immerse the incision underwater until approved by the doctor.

    You may 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.

  4. Drain care. There is a small silicone drain which will drain out the fluid which accumulates in the surgical area. The drain will stay in place anywhere from 3 days to 1 week. 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 drains.

  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 9-8-06 Id

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