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7 Things To Know About Lumpectomy After Care

7 Things To Know About Lumpectomy After Care
Sailaxmi Chennuru

A lumpectomy or partial mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove cancerous breast tissue along with a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue to ensure all abnormal cells are removed. Also commonly referred to as breast-conserving surgery, this procedure preserves most of the breast in comparison to a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast. A lumpectomy is usually the best treatment option for early-stage breast cancer.

Women with invasive breast cancer typically have some lymph nodes removed near the armpit during a lumpectomy which are tested to see if cancer has spread beyond the breast. Sometimes, a drainage tube is surgically inserted into the breast area or armpit to collect excess fluid that can accumulate in the space where the tumor was. A lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy to prevent cancer regrowth in the breast.

Lumpectomy Recovery 

Typically, a lumpectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure, meaning the patient can return home on the same day. If the surgeon removes some lymph nodes, the patient may be required to stay at the hospital overnight. While everyone heals differently, recovery from a lumpectomy usually takes just a few days. However, if you have had a more extensive procedure, it can take a few weeks or more. In the first few days after a lumpectomy, you will probably have some pain and fatigue. The skin around the incision may feel firm, tender, swollen, and appear bruised. Tenderness should go away in about 2-3 days, and bruising resolves within two weeks. However, firmness and swelling may last for a few months.

Proper lumpectomy aftercare is crucial for healing and recovery. Your surgical team should give written instructions about what you can expect to do once you are home. These instructions might include the following:

  • How to care for the surgery site, dressing, and surgical drain.
  • The use of pain medications and antibiotics.
  • Tips on bathing and showering.
  • Any activity restrictions.
  • How to recognize signs of infection.
  • Shoulder exercises to prevent stiffness.
  • When to call the doctor or nurse.
  • Follow-up appointments, etc.

7 Things to know about Lumpectomy Aftercare

Though lumpectomy is a less invasive surgery, it still has a recovery period. During this time, follow your surgeon’s instructions in order to get better as quickly as possible. Here are the things you should know about post-surgical care:

1. Incision care 

  • Follow your surgical team’s instructions on how to care for your incision. 
  • Some surgeons prefer to remove the dressings themselves during the first follow-up visit. Therefore, it is important to correctly care for the bandages during this period.
  • Take sponge baths until you are able to shower. 
  • After the outer are removed, usually 2 days after surgery, you will be allowed to shower. Make sure to keep incisions clean, dry, and covered with gauze while showering.
  • Do not use soaps, creams, or lotions on the incision until it is fully healed. Instead, wash the area with warm, soapy water and pat it dry.
  • Do not scrub the incision site to avoid damage to the surgical site.
  • Make sure to watch for signs of infection, including redness, pain, tenderness, pus or drainage, or a foul odor. Contact your medical provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • If you have a drain, you must empty the fluid from the drain a few times daily until the follow-up visit.

2. Medicines

You may be given medicine for pain or post-op discomfort. You can also use OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen in consultation with your doctor. If your surgeon prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take them as directed.

3. Activity restrictions

  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as weightlifting, jogging, aerobic exercise, or any other physical activity that could cause pain in the surgical area for 1 month or until your doctor gives you the green light. 
  • Don’t lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds for 4 weeks after surgery to avoid damage to the incision.
  • Do not drive while taking your pain medication, as it may affect your driving ability.
  • Talk to your doctor about when you can resume driving. Typically, it is safe to drive when you are no longer on pain medicines and can use your arm without pain. 
  • You can probably return to work and normal activities in 1 to 3 weeks or longer if you are having radiation or chemotherapy.

4. Diet 

Typically, you shouldn’t have any dietary restrictions after surgery. However, if your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods. You may be constipated due to certain pain medications or reduced physical activity. Try to include a lot of fiber in your diet, or take a fiber supplement daily. If you still have a problem with bowel movements, ask your doctor about a mild laxative.

5. Sleep positions

You may feel fatigued after surgery, so it is a good idea to get plenty of rest over the days following. Getting enough sleep is vital for recovery. Sleep on your back or on the side that has not been operated on to avoid putting pressure on the surgical area. Use a pillow to support the surgical area.

6. Arm exercises 

It is essential to do simple arm exercises to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness. You can usually begin on the morning after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you what to do and things to avoid until your drains are removed or your incisions are healed. 

7. What to wear

After a lumpectomy, wearing a supportive sports or compression bra day and night can minimize any movement that might cause shooting pain in breast. Speak with your medical provider to discuss what is best for you.

HPFY’s recommended products for Lumpectomy Recovery 

1. LuisaLuisa Aerobic Runner Top Mastectomy Sports Bra

FSA Approved    Made In USA

This lightweight, wire-free sports bra is made from a cotton/lycra blend and is perfect to wear during recovery from breast surgery. It is designed with openings on the inside side seam to hold breast forms securely in place during activity.

LuisaLuisa Aerobic Runner Top Mastectomy Sports Bra



2. Classique 517 Partial Post Lumpectomy Silicone Breast Form

Made of medical silicone and wrapped with a matte skin-like polyurethane film, this hand-washable breast form looks and feels natural. It is crafted for those who have undergone partial breast surgery, reconstruction, reduction, or when one breast is smaller than the other and can be worn on the right or left side.

Classique 517 Partial Post Lumpectomy Silicone Breast Form



3. Classique 507 Oval Post Lumpectomy Silicone Breast Form

Designed to enhance the look of one breast that is smaller than the other, this form is ideal for those who have undergone a lumpectomy. It is constructed from medical silicone covered in matte skin-like polyurethane for a more life-like feel. The natural appearance is enhanced by its beige color, deep concave back, oval shape, nipple, and areola.

Classique 507 Oval Post Lumpectomy Silicone Breast Form



When to seek immediate medical care?

It is important to be aware of certain signs that can indicate an emergency. Call 911 immediately if:

  • You cannot drink fluids.
  • You cannot pass stools.
  • Pain does not get better with medicine.
  • Your stitches have opened.
  • Fluid builds up in or around the breast.
  • There is a lot of bleeding from the surgery site.
  • Signs of a blood clot in the leg.

A lumpectomy can remove breast cancer while leaving natural breast tissue intact, which can help you feel more like yourself after treatment.  HPFY hosts high-quality products that you can use post-lumpectomy. Visit HPFY to learn more. 


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru

Sailaxmi Chennuru, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2017. A business management graduate, the study of anatomy has always been of interest to her.

After working as a medical transcriptionist for several years, she developed a keen interest ...

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