After Lumpectomy Surgery
After the surgery is completed and the patient has fully awakened from anesthesia, the recovery from surgery truly begins. If lymph nodes were removed, a drain is placed in the underarm area to remove excess fluid. The drain will be under a sterile bandage, and can be easily removed after surgery when the drainage is minimal.
Dissolvable sutures may be slowly absorbed into the body over time, rather than removed. Standard sutures will be removed by the surgeon during an office visit, usually within two weeks of the surgery.
After a typical lumpectomy, removing a mass less than 5 cm in size, the recovery typically takes three to four weeks. If the procedure requires the removal of more tissue, the recovery can take as long as six weeks.
During the recovery the first two to three days will be the most painful, with the pain easing somewhat each day thereafter. During the recovery phase it is best to avoid any sort of activity that includes a bouncing movement, such as running, and is it essential to take care of your incision.
Lifting is discouraged during the weeks following recovery, as is any activity that requires the arms to be raised over the head, which can put strain on the incision and cause increased pain. A supportive bra, such as an athletic bra, can be worn continuously the first week or two to decrease movement of the breast to prevent pain and support the incision.
If the lump is examined and found to be cancerous, radiation treatments are recommended to treat any cancerous areas that may not have been located during the surgery.