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How Long To Recover After Breast Cancer Surgery

Q Will I Be Able To Wear A Normal Bra Afterward

Back to Work After Breast Cancer Surgery

A. Whether you wear a surgical bra after your procedure will likely depend on your surgeons preference and the type of surgery you had performed. Some patients will benefit from wearing a compression bra around the clock for the first four to six weeks, but many will be advised not to, Dr. Liu says. Underwire bras and bras that dont provide much support generally arent recommended in the first six weeks after surgery.

How Long Your Surgery May Take

With enabling conditions, some breast reconstructions could happen at the same time as your mastectomy. Should there be a need for tissue expansion it could take a couple of months of regular appointments to gain enough tissue size that could cover an implant.

In order words, a need for tissue expansion could tremendously increase the time itll take to complete your entire reconstruction process. Having to reconstruct either one or both breasts will also impact the timing in as much as the type of planned reconstruction .

Depending on the reconstruction method thats applicable to you, it could take between 3 to 12 hours including the preparation.

How Will A Lumpectomy Change The Appearance Of My Breast

In many cases, lumpectomy causes very little scarring or changes to the breast. If the surgery is more involved, there are several ways to enhance the appearance of the breast. Options include a breast lift, breast reduction surgery, tissue rearrangement, and, in some cases, cosmetic plastic surgery on the other breast to make them look the same.

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Who Should Not Undergo Breast Reduction

Some people are medically unable to undergo the surgery when other systemic diseases are present. Smokers should quit smoking prior to the procedure because it increases the risk of complications.

Breast reduction and age:

  • Patients may seek reduction mammoplasty starting at puberty. If reduction mammoplasty is performed at an early age, such as 14 years, patients may require an additional procedure.
  • If breasts are significantly large, surgery can be performed in the teenage years.
  • Patients should undergo a preoperative mammogram if they are older than 35 years.

What To Expect After Breast Surgery

My breast cancer lumpectomy, mastectomy and reconstruction ...

If you have any questions about your recovery, ask the doctors and nurses caring for you. Many people are referred to a breast care nurse for information and support. How long you stay in hospital will depend on the type of surgery you have and how well you recover.

If you have breast-conserving surgery, you can usually go home the same day. If you have a mastectomy, you usually need to stay in hospital overnight. If you have a reconstruction after mastectomy, you will usually need to stay in hospital for several days.

Learn more about:

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Why Should I Get Radiation After Surgery

Most people have radiation treatments after lumpectomy surgery to destroy any remaining microscopic cancer cells. This combination is a standard treatment option for women with breast cancer. . It effectively treats cancer while preserving more of how your breast looks and feels.

Research has shown lumpectomy plus radiation offers long-term survival rates that are similar to those who have a mastectomy .

How Long Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Recovery

Breast reconstruction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that is often done after a lumpectomy or mastectomy, which enables women to have natural-looking breasts again. It can restore the shape and size in one breast or both breasts after breast cancer. This advanced and intricate procedure can also help women born with a congenital defect or who have endured a traumatic injury. Before undergoing this type of plastic surgery, most women have questions like, “What will my breasts look like after surgery?” or “What will my recovery after breast reconstruction surgery be like?”

Tamburrino Plastic Surgery & Med Spa in Doylestown, PA is proud to help women restore their sense of self and femininity with this cosmetic procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Tamburrino is fellowship-trained in microsurgery and specializes in breast reconstruction procedures. Dr. Tamburrino and his caring staff will help women navigate through the process of this surgical procedure, keeping an open line of communication with all corresponding specialists involved, including a patient’s cancer team.

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Numbness And Tingling In The Upper Arm

You may have numbness or a tingling feeling in your upper arm. This is more likely if you had all the lymph nodes in your armpit removed. It is caused by swelling and damage to the nerves in your breast and armpit during or after the operation. It may slowly improve over a few months, but it can sometimes be permanent. Talk to your surgeon or specialist nurse if you are worried.

Treatment After A Double Mastectomy

How long does it take to recover from breast cancer surgery?

Some women may need additional treatment after a double mastectomy to further prevent cancer from coming back. Your surgeon will remove all the cancer cells known to be in a certain area, plus a margin of healthy tissue around them, but microscopic cancer cells may remain. Treatment after surgery is intended to kill any microscopic cancer cells so they cannot spread. Any additional treatment thats given after the main breast cancer treatment is called adjuvant therapy.

Adjuvant treatment after a double mastectomy may include:

Chemotherapy or targeted therapy: If either chemotherapy or targeted therapy is recommended after surgery, its typically the first adjuvant therapy thats given.

Hormone therapy: For women who have hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, hormone therapy may be recommended after a double mastectomy. Most of these drugs reduce estrogen levels or block estrogen from acting on breast cancer cells, which stops them from growing.

Radiation:Radiation may be recommended if your doctor suspects there may still be cancer in the lymph nodes, chest wall or nearby tissue after surgery. Or, it may be given to help reduce the chance of cancer recurring for other reasons. Radiation can typically be given before or after breast reconstruction surgery, if you choose to have it.

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When To Call Your Doctor After Cancer Surgery

At this time, youre probably more in tune with your body than youve ever been in your life. You notice every physical change. Dont take any physical symptoms you may have lightly. Be sure you know how to contact your health care team members after hours and on weekends and holidays.

Some surgery side effects may come and go quickly, but others may be a sign of serious problems. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you suffer from any of the following symptoms after surgery:

  • A fever
  • Intense chills
  • Bleeding from your surgical site or drain site, or unexplained bruising and bleeding anywhere else
  • Pain or soreness at the surgical site thats getting worse or not relieved with the pain medicine
  • Unusual pain anywhere, including in your legs, chest, belly, and intense headaches
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Having trouble urinating pain when you urinate or bloody, bad smelling, or cloudy urine
  • Any other signs mentioned by your doctor or nurse

Dont hesitate to let your doctor know about any new problems or concerns you have. Its always best to find out the cause of a problem so it can be dealt with right away.

Are Lymph Nodes Removed During A Lumpectomy

Women with invasive breast cancer typically have one or more lymph nodes taken from the underarm area during a lumpectomy. These nodes, called the sentinel nodes, are the first lymph nodes to which cancer cells would travel if they were to leave the breast. This is done so that your doctor can check to see if the cancer has spread.

Women with DCIS undergoing lumpectomy do not need to have lymph nodes removed.

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The Bottom Line: Expert Wound Care For Radiation Wounds

As a patient of radiation therapy, you need ongoing and personalized wound care to help you overcome radiation injuries and side effects. You deserve to get that help in the comfortable, refreshing, and attractive environment offered by R3 Wound Care and Hyperbarics.

With seven convenient locations throughout Texas, R3 Wound Care provides advanced therapies like HBOT previously only available at large medical institutions. Every HBOT treatment at R3 occurs in a clear acrylic chamber where you relax, recline, and enjoy a good book or movie for a few hours.

Visit the R3 location closest to you today to learn more about this natural alternative healing treatment and its potential to finally liberate you from your painful radiation side effects.

What Is The Difference Between Lumpectomy And Mastectomy

How Long Is Mastectomy Surgery

Lumpectomy and mastectomy are both forms of treatment for breast cancer. It should be understood that lumpectomy is just an outpatient procedure. It involves only the removal of the tumor in the breast which is affected by cancer. Sometimes few lymph nodes may be removed which may be suspected to be affected by cancer. The patient may go home at the same day of the surgery. On the contrary mastectomy is a rather major surgery, which involves removal of the entire breast affected by the cancer. Mastectomy may be carried out in case of the failure of lumpectomy or when the cancerous tumor gets large enough that lumpectomy alone would not suffice. The patient will have to stay in the hospital for a day or two after the surgery for observational purpose. Mastectomy requires a longer duration of time for recovery than lumpectomy.

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Medications For Severe Pain From Surgery

For more severe pain, as your surgery wound is healing, your health care provider may prescribe tramadol, tapentadol or opioids .

All of these drugs can cause constipation, so you may need to make some changes in your diet or take medications to promote regular bowel movements. To manage constipation, your health care provider may recommend:

  • Eating high-fiber foods
  • Drinking plenty of liquids
  • Taking a soluble fiber supplement

Other side effects of these drugs include sleepiness and nausea. These usually go away after about a week. If they dont, tell your health care provider. These side effects can be treated.

If you are prescribed opioid medications, your health care provider will carefully monitor the amount prescribed so you dont take too much.

Why Is Breast Reduction Done

This procedure may prove useful for women with

  • Large breasts, disproportionate to the body frame.
  • Large, heavy breasts causing significant neck, back, and shoulder pain.
  • Grooves in the shoulders from the weight of bra straps.
  • Difficulty wearing and fitting in clothes.
  • Breasts that interfere with sports and exercise.
  • Skin irritation beneath their breasts.
  • Asymmetrical breasts.
  • Self-consciousness or aesthetic concerns.

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Caring For Your Wound

After surgery, the wound will need extra care. If you have any questions, ask your health care team.

bathe carefullyIts okay for the dressing to get wet in the shower. Afterwards gently pat the wound dry with a soft, clean towel. Its best not to have a bath.
avoid cutsTalk to your treatment team if you want to shave or wax your armpits. They may advise you to wait for a short time.
follow-upA wound infection can happen at any time. Report any redness, pain, heat, fever, swelling or wound discharge to your surgeon or breast care nurse. You may need antibiotics to manage the infection.
moisturise

What Does Breast Cancer Surgery Involve

Tips to Reduce Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast cancer surgery will involve an incision in the breast to remove the cancer and surrounding tissue. The amount of breast tissue removed will depend on whether it is a breast conserving surgery to remove part of the breast tissue or a mastectomy to remove one or both breasts. The Incision is then with stitches , which will either dissolve or be removed later.

In many cases, breast cancer surgery will also involve the removal of one or more lymph nodes from the underarm area. A mastectomy usually takes one to two hours, while breast conserving surgery usually takes up to one and a half hours. Both types of breast surgery are performed under general anaesthetic, meaning that patients are unconscious throughout the procedure.

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Tell Us What You Think

We would greatly appreciate any feedback you have on this resource. It will help us to continue to develop any future resources to help women physically recover from breast reconstruction surgery.

Please click here to complete a 10-minute survey. Your responses are confidential, and the survey has been approved by The University of Wollongong Human Research Ethics Committee.

Don’t Take Your Meds As Prescribed

You may shrug off pain medication because you heard it’s addictive or it makes you constipated, nauseous, or woozy. But skimping on your medicine isn’t smart.

Pain can sometimes interfere with your sleep, appetite, and ability to get around, Whiteson says. And that can make it harder for your body to heal. Ultimately, the goal is to get off medication, but not before you’re ready.

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Drive Before You’re Ready

If your doctor tells you not to get behind the wheel — whether it’s for 2 weeks or 2 months — it’s for a good reason. Your reaction time may be slower and you could get into an accident. Until you’re ready to handle it, get lifts from a friend or family member. Or ask them to do your errands for you.

What To Expect After A Lumpectomy For Breast Cancer

What is a Prophylactic Mastectomy?

Heres how many days you should set aside for recovery.

Surgery is just one treatment option for breast cancer, but its a common one: Most people I diagnose with breast cancer will have surgery at some point during their treatment, says Jaime Alberty-Oller, MD, breast cancer oncologist and surgeon at Dubin Breast Center, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Its common for women to have many questions when a lumpectomy for breast cancer is recommended, according to Dr. Alberty-Oller. Many women are curious about how the surgery treats the cancer, how the breasts will look afterward, and the expected recovery time.

What Is a Lumpectomy?

Lumpectomies are a type of breast surgery where, instead of removing all of the breast tissue , a portion of the breast is removed. The surgeon will remove the cancer, as well as a rim of normal tissue surrounding it, which is called the margin. A lumpectomy may also be called breast-conserving surgery, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy. Learn more about types of breast cancer surgery here.

The goal of lumpectomy surgery is to take the cancer out and do the safest operation that we can, says Dr. Alberty Oller. The amount of breast tissue thats removed during a lumpectomy depends on the size and location of the tumor, your breast size, and other factors.

Lumpectomy Surgery: What to Expect

Side effects: Common side effects after a lumpectomy may include:

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Side Effects Of Breast Cancer Surgery

Everyone responds differently to the side effects that are experienced after a breast surgery and these may vary in severity. The side effects may happen straight after surgery or develop over time. Some of these may include:

  • Pain, discomfort or numbness in the breast area and/or underarm while the wounds are healing â this usually settles after a few weeks
  • Stiffness in the arm or shoulder â it may be helpful to do some approved exercises after surgery
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm or shoulder if lymph nodes have been removed â this may improve with time, but feeling in these areas may change permanently
  • Fluid may collect in or around the scar in the breast area or underarm â this is called a seroma and may need to be drained using a fine needle and a syringe this can be done by a breast care nurse or another health professional in the clinic or by a GP
  • Mild pain in the arm and/or underarm â this can last a year or more after surgery if lymph nodes have been removed.
  • If lymph nodes have been removed, there may be swelling in the arm, breast area, hand or chest that lasts after the initial side effects of surgery are over this is called lymphoedema and can develop a few months or years after .
  • Cording, a condition that can feel like a tight cord running from the underarm down the inner

A Chance To Make Some Life Choices

Make sure your family and your officemates understand that just because treatment is over, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to jump right back into running the carpool, coaching soccer, and traveling to conferences a week out of every month.

“Everyone’s ready for treatment to be over, not just you, and although they’ve been supportive, your friends and family may be expecting you to spring back right away,” says McCabe. “It’s an education process. They need to understand that when the therapy stops, that doesn’t mean that the effects of the therapy stop immediately.”

Manage your expectations, urges Weiss. “Decrease the stress and the pressure on you in whatever ways you can. There are a lot of decisions you can make to take charge of how your life goes while you’re in this recovery process.”

For example, you may have certain ideas about how your house should look, how much income you’re going to have, and what your commitments to your community need to be. Decide which of those things are really important to you and which ones don’t matter quite as much. Let the less-important ones slide or find someone else to do them.

Gina Shaw is a medical writer who was treated for breast cancer in 2004, and now calls herself a “joyful breast cancer survivor.”

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