Typically, we discharge breast patients with a large white dressing covering the wound and drains which be removed at your first post-operative visit. It is okay to bathe, but please keep the dressing clean and dry.
Begin with a bland diet, such as chicken noodle soup, crackers, Gatorade or tea, and gradually work your way up to a normal diet.
When you get home from the hospital, it is important to be up and moving around your house. Walking upstairs is acceptable. During your first post-operative visit we will recommend range of motion exercises to keep your shoulder functioning normally. Some simple exercises include using a hairbrush to brush your hair using the arm on the operative side, allowing you to move your shoulder up and elbow back. Another simple exercise is bending over and moving your shoulder in a circular fashion, which works to keep the joint flexible.
You should resume all your home medications except for aspirin and other anticoagulants, which should be discontinued for at least a week following surgery unless other arrangements have been made with your physician.
When you get home from the hospital, please call our office at (512) 467-7151 for an appointment within 3 – 5 days of your discharge from the hospital so that we may change your dressing and remove any drains.
Ice packs on your incisions may be useful during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off is a good rule of thumb.
Use the prescription pain medication provided at the time of discharge as directed. Be sure to take narcotic pain medication with food so as not to upset your stomach. As soon as possible transition to non-narcotic pain relievers such as Tylenol. If you have no past problems with ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding or allergies to aspirin, you may take Ibuprofen. Do not drive while you are taking a prescription pain medication.
Nausea is common during the post-operative period and may be caused by pain medication. Stopping the pain medication and using Tylenol or ibuprofen will likely help.
It is not unusual for patients taking narcotic pain medication after surgery to become constipated. This should be treated by gradually increasing your activity and drinking a normal amount of water to remain hydrated. A stool softener such as Colace may be used for a few days. A diet high in fiber or dietary fiber supplements (such as Metamucil, Fibercon, Konsyl, Citrucel) may also help. For persistent constipation, our favorite remedy is Miralax, although Ducolax suppositories, Milk of Magnesia or Fleet enemas can be used and are available without a prescription. Use all over the counter medications as directed.
You may have closed suction drains which are used to remove fluid from the wound. It is important to wash your hands before and after emptying the drains. Please keep a written log of drain output (the number of cc’s in a 24-hour period) to help indicate when to remove your drains. Once the drainage has diminished to our satisfaction we will remove these drains. If you have a reconstruction, the plastic surgeon will remove these drains.
Typically, it takes the pathologist 3 – 5 days to completely process a breast biopsy specimen. Upon receiving these results, we will review them with you in the office. You may have a copy of this pathology report and we will forward a copy to your oncologist for review.
Should you experience a temperature over 101 degrees or have persistent nausea, vomiting or other problems that you think require medical attention, please call our office.