Breast Surgery

This pathway is a guide to what generally occurs for patients with your same diagnosis. Your doctor and the staff caring for you may alter this plan to meet your specific needs. 

Pre-Admission Testing
Diagnostic Tests:

  • You may have blood drawn and other medical testing if your physician determines the need.
  • You and your doctor will review the list of current medications you are taking. This includes vitamins and herbal supplements.

Diet:

  • Follow your normal diet
  • On the day of surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. This includes gum and cough drops and you cannot smoke.

Education:

You will learn what to expect on the day of your surgery:

  • You may have an IV and possibly a drain
  • You will have an incision on your breast (the extent and details of this incision will be explained to you prior to the procedure)
  • There may be swelling and bruising at the incision site
  • You may experience some pain with arm movement after surgery
  • Numbness, tingling, phantom breast sensation may occur after surgery. These sensations are normal after this type of procedure

Preparation:

  • Make your life easier and safer after surgery by planning and arranging the reduction of household activities prior to surgery.
  • Arrange for assistance for household chores and meal preparation when you first get home.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital as well as to your physician's office for your after surgery check-up.

Following Surgery
Diet:

  • You may follow your normal diet as long as you are not experiencing any nausea

Medications and IV's:

  • Pain medication will be given to you as needed

Special Consults:

  • If you have a mastectomy or a surgery involving your lymph nodes, a Reach To Recovery referral will be initiated

Activity:

  • You will practice your arm and shoulder exercises with the nurse or physical therapist

Education:

  • You will learn to empty your drain if you have one.

Post-Op Day One
Education:

You will learn the signs and symptoms that may indicate wound infection.

You will practice emptying your drain if you have one.

You will receive information regarding:

  • Activity instruction
  • Incision care

You will also be instructed on breast self-exam techniques.

Day of Discharge
Education:

You will be given information about a cancer support group

You will be given the 800.4.CANCER (Cancer Information Service) phone number

If you have a mastectomy:

  • You will learn about stores near your home where you can purchase post-mastectomy products
  • You will be provided with a temporary prosthesis

Discharge Planning:

  • It is very important to keep your follow-up medical appointments