How Do You Recover From a Lumpectomy?


Quick Answer

To recover from a lumpectomy, rest properly; take pain medication; care for the bandage and surgical drain; and have any stitches or staples removed if needed, recommends Breastcancer.org. It is also necessary to exercise the arm and learn how to recognize signs of infection.

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Patients who undergo lumpectomy surgery typically do not have to stay overnight in the recovery room, except in cases where lymph nodes are also removed, says Breastcancer.org. Continue taking the medications prescribed by the surgeon after leaving the hospital.

Follow the doctor's instructions on how to take care of the bandage over the incision, states Breastcancer.org. In some cases, the surgeon removes the bandage on the first follow-up visit. A drain in the breast or armpit region is sometimes removed before the patient leaves the hospital. Doctors may also leave the drain inserted until the patient’s first visit one to two weeks post-surgery. In this case, empty the fluid from the drain bulb several times daily.

Most stitches used in surgery dissolve after some time; however, contact a doctor to have stitches removed if the edge of the suture protrudes out of the incision, notes Breastcancer.org. Do the exercise routine recommended by the surgeon to avoid having a stiff arm or shoulder. Proper recovery after a lumpectomy surgery also involves taking sponge baths and wearing a supportive bra that restricts painful movements.

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