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5 Helpful Mastectomy Recovery Tips

Southwest Breast & Aesthetics

Undergoing mastectomy is an incredibly challenging time in a woman’s life for a vast array of reasons. Recovering from the surgery can be a less daunting part of the experience with the right help, resources, and advice. A few simple tips can make a big difference in your comfort level during the mastectomy recovery period and help to ensure that you heal as quickly as possible with fewer complications. Getting proper treatment is critical, choosing the right surgeon is crucial, and healing well is essential to achieving the most positive outcomes possible after mastectomy.

Ask for Help

This is often on the top of mastectomy recovery lists in part because it is so important for healing but also because it is, in many cases, the most difficult thing for patients to do. Taking time off work outside the home can be simple enough for some but women often find it difficult to let others take care of household duties, childcare, or help with their care needs, especially when they are recovering at home and everything is in sight. Every doctor, oncologist, and reconstructive surgeon who wants to see great outcomes for their patients will tell you; please ask for help! Whether it’s post-op care for you, taking you to follow-up appointments, or basic tasks around the house, it’s incredibly important for your healing to rest and allow your loved ones and support system to step in.

Prepare Post-Op Medications and Plan for Incisions and Surgical Drains

Your surgeon should go over very detailed instructions with you prior to surgery to prepare you for mastectomy recovery aftercare. Sharing this information with your primary support person can go a long way toward a smoother recovery if they also know what to expect. Many patients benefit from and feel the need for medication as soon as they get home, so filling that prescription ahead of time is important. So you can avoid sending anyone on a late-night drugstore run, wound care supplies, and comfort items should also ideally be purchased ahead of time.

Block off Your Calendar

Even the easiest and relatively fastest mastectomy recovery takes time, and while steps can be taken to avoid prolonging the process, it should not be rushed. Work and major household projects, along with social events and vacations, should be held off until healing is complete and the risks of infection or complications have passed. Jumping back into activities too quickly is not worth risking serious or possibly even life-threatening complications.

Plan Your Meals

Meals can be a huge household challenge after any surgery. Even if your spouse, partner, or other loved one who is caring for you knows their way around the kitchen, caring for you, children, and other needs may take up the bulk of their time. Thinking about food prep prior to surgery can take a huge weight off of everyone’s shoulders. Buying simple, quick-to-prepare foods or freezing meals to pop in the oven or crockpot can help make the mastectomy recovery process smoother. Asking a friend to organize a meal train is a great way to receive help from those who are eager to offer it, and there are online tools that can streamline the process.

Consider Your Environment

Before your surgery, think about what will be the most comfortable, healing environment. Soft pajamas and pillows, a space heater or fan, depending on the season, and entertainment are all things to consider. In addition, sleeping in an elevated position for several weeks after surgery is not only important to prevent swelling and pressure on incisions, but it is also much more comfortable. A recliner chair or a large wedge pillow can mean optimal comfort and the ability to get in and out of a resting position without help. Having drains can be bothersome but it is necessary and the time is limited. They do not limit your range of motion and can be easily pinned or clipped to clothing. Think through your surgeon-instructed limitations during mastectomy recovery and plan accordingly.

Plan for the Unexpected

A bonus tip that the others didn’t cover; plan for the unexpected and understand that things might not go as smoothly as you hope. With any surgery, risks and snags can occur that are difficult to anticipate, but a flexible mindset and close communication with your surgeon can go a long way.

Don’t Go It Alone

Hopefully, these tips have started the ball rolling and given you some insight on how to feel more prepared for and less nervous about mastectomy recovery. One of the key pieces of a great recovery is finding the right surgeon to be with you every step of the way, like the team at Southwest Breast. This is our specialty, and we would be honored to help you in your healing and mastectomy recovery journey. When you're ready, don't hesitate to contact our team of Phoenix reconstructive breast surgeons.

Your journey to better begins with a consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics. Our plastic surgeons set the standards for plastic surgery through their innovative procedures and meticulous attention to detail. Discover a better experience by booking your consultation at Southwest Breast and Aesthetics today.