After the Mastectomy Procedure
- After surgery, the woman is taken to a recovery room where her vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, and breathing) are monitored. Once stable, she is moved out of the recovery room.
- Depending on the severity of her pain, the woman may be given pain medications orally or by intravenous injection. The medication does not eliminate pain, but it does reduce the pain.
- A woman undergoing a mastectomy generally stays in the hospital for one to seven days, depending on the type of mastectomy and the type of reconstruction, if any. A few women are able to go home the night of their mastectomy.
Next Steps after Mastectomy
The first follow-up visit occurs about one week after the surgery to make sure the incision is healing well and that no postoperative complications are present.
- During this visit, the surgeon explains the results of the biopsy and, if necessary, discusses any further treatment (chemotherapy [using medications to kill cancer cells], radiation therapy, or both).
- Stitches that dissolve by themselves are often used to close the incision. If the surgeon used nondissolving stitches or clips, they are removed during the first follow-up visit.
- Drainage tubes are usually removed (typically within two weeks) when the amount of fluid draining from the operation site decreases to an acceptable volume.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/21/2015
Leigh A Neumayer, MD, MS, FACS
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