Postoperative Instructions for Minor Breast Cancer Surgery

post-OP INSTRUCTIONS for lumpectomy / partial MASTECTOMY sentinel lymph node biopsy portacath insertion & other non-mastectomy surgeries

  • On the day of surgery and the following day, wear a supportive bra day and night. After that, you don’t have to wear a bra at night unless you want to.
  • Keep the dressing on and keep it dry for two days. During that time, you need to wash around the bandage. After that, you can remove the bandage and let the incision get wet. However, don’t let it get too wet, and don’t wash it. Just let the water run over the incision and pat it dry with a clean towel. Do not cleanse the wound or apply ointment. You can put on a new gauze dressing if you want. There are at least two layers of sutures/stitches under the skin. The sutures don’t have to be removed; they will dissolve on their own. There is a layer of glue on the skin’s surface that looks like clear nail polish. Just leave it on. It helps hold the skin together and prevents bacteria from getting into the wound. The glue will flake off in about two weeks.

Austin Breast Cancer Surgeon

Darlene M. Miltenburg MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Call US 512-509-2146
  • You can use deodorant/antiperspirant.
  • Recovery time is 1-2 weeks, depending on the surgery.
  • Do lift, push, pull or carry anything heavier than 10 pounds for one month. Avoid activities that cause your breasts to bounce for one month. Do not work out your upper body until cleared by the doctor. Lower body exercises like a stationary bike or treadmill are OK. Gentle, targeted post-op exercises are encouraged.
  • Do not submerge the incision in a bathtub, swimming pool, lake, or seawater for at least six weeks.
  • The Doctor’s office will call you for a post-op follow-up appointment. Call them if you haven’t heard anything in a few days after surgery. Often, the post-op visit can be done via Telemedicine or on the phone.
  • A written prescription for post-op medications will be given to you by the hospital nurse after surgery. If the office has your pharmacy on file, the prescription will be submitted electronically directly to your pharmacy.