Recovering From A Mastectomy
Mastectomy is a treatment option in which the entire breast is removed in order to prevent breast cancer recurrence or as a preventative measure in high risk individuals. Many women choose mastectomy as part of their healing journey. Recovery for everyone may look different depending on the type of mastectomy performed and due to the fact that everyone responds differently to surgery. Continue reading for a summary of typical experiences.
Following mastectomy surgery, your vitals will be monitored by hospital staff. It is important to let your doctor or nurses know if you begin to experience symptoms, such as nausea or headache, as you may require medication post-anesthesia. Once you are admitted to a room, the average stay is 3 days or less, unless you have undergone reconstruction at the same time.
It may take a few weeks to fully recover from a mastectomy or possibly longer if you’ve opted for reconstruction. Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions closely. Some general guidelines include:
Listen to Your Doctor
It’s important to always follow the advice of your healthcare provider and if you have any questions or concerns post-surgery to let them know immediately.
Post-surgery, your body will feel quite fatigued from the experience. It is important to get enough rest, which will be significantly more than your body normally requires, in the first few weeks after your procedure. Refrain from any physical labor around the house, despite how minimal it may seem.
You can expect slight pain or numbness in the chest where the breast incision took place. If needed, take pain medication in accordance with your specific guidelines.
An important part of recovery is doing arm exercises each day in order to keep it limber. Continuing an arm routine on a regular basis after recovery will prevent stiffness and retain flexibility.
Recovery from a mastectomy, like any major surgery, will take time. Listen to your body and slowly get back into a routine that works for you. You will need help with meals, home care, and tending to basic needs. Be sure to ask for help if you need it.
Gradually, your body will adjust to the surgery. In the months following a mastectomy, you may experience phantom pain or sensations as nerves regrow. The discomfort may diminish, however, your body will learn to adapt to it. Follow up with your doctor as needed and call Little Silver Mammography if you are in need of our assistance.