Every step of a mastectomy journey is an emotional one – from receiving the cancer diagnosis to choosing post-surgical mastectomy bras. For many women, knowing what to expect during and after a mastectomy helps them focus on the facts and look beyond the emotion.
Although every woman’s journey is unique, some common experiences can help you understand what lies ahead.
The day of surgery
On the day of the surgery, you will wait in a pre-operative area where nurses will help prepare you for the operation. Your surgeon will use this time to draw markings on your breasts to indicate where the incisions will be.
The surgeon will then leave to prepare for your surgery, and a nurse will take you to the operating theatre where you will receive general anesthesia.
You will be in good hands as a medical team works to remove all tumors and affected tissue from your breasts. Your surgeon might insert surgical drainage tubes to suction out any excess fluids that collect after surgery.
The surgeon concludes the surgery by stitching the incisions and covering the site with a bandage.
A mastectomy generally takes between one and three hours per breast and will require a stay of up to three days in the hospital. A simultaneous breast reconstruction will take longer and will require a longer stay in the hospital.
Nursing staff will move you from the theatre to the recovery room. They will remain with you to monitor your vital signs and your reaction to the anesthesia once you begin to wake up.
When the nurse is comfortable with your recovery from the anesthesia, they will admit you to a hospital room.
The day after surgery
The day after surgery is a significant step in your recovery process. A nurse will teach you a gentle exercise routine that will prevent stiffness in your arms and shoulders. The exercises also help minimize the amount of significant scar tissue that could form.
Your surgeon and the hospital staff will give you with all the information you need to take care of yourself at home. Make sure that you completely understand the instructions you receive about important recovery aspects like caring of the incisions, taking pain medication, exercising your arms and when to see your doctor for a check-up.
Another important aspect is knowing how long to wait before you wear a prosthesis, mastectomy bra or conventional bra.
Feeling comfortable at home
If you opted not to have reconstruction, then you will find your clothing will not fit you as well as they used to. Post-surgical mastectomy bras will help you fill out the breast area for a natural-looking effect. These special bras have discrete insert pockets to carry breast forms on one or both sides.
Look for post-surgical mastectomy bras for sale from reputable suppliers. An expert supplier can help to measure you for the correct size and choose the right breast form. Making the right choice will minimize discomfort and maximize your confidence.
Give yourself time
You can help the healing process along by following your doctor’s instructions and asking friends and family to help you with everyday tasks. The more rest you get during the first few weeks, the easier it will be for your body to adjust a little more every day.