What happens before the surgery?

Before your operation, you may be seen at a pre-assessment clinic. This provides a good opportunity for you to ask questions and talk over any concerns about the operation. You may have tests to check your general health. This can include blood tests, a urine check, chest x-ray or a recording of your heart (ECG).

Most women who have breast cancer surgery can go home the same day or the following day. But, if you have breast reconstruction at the same time as a mastectomy, you may be in hospital for longer (1–5 days). This will depend on the type of reconstruction operation you have.

Your surgeon or breast care nurse will talk to you about how your breast will look after your surgery. They may show you photographs of other women who have had breast surgery or put you in touch with someone who has been through it. Or you can contact a local support group or Breast Cancer Care.

You will usually come into hospital on the day of your operation. You’ll meet the doctor who gives you the anaesthetic (anaesthetist). The nurses may give you elastic stockings (TED stockings) to wear during and after the operation to help prevent blood clots.

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