What happens before surgery?

Before your operation, you may be seen at a pre-assessment clinic. This is 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. These 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 (one to five 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. You could also 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 to wear during and after the operation to help prevent blood clots.

Back to Breast surgery explained

Surgery for breast cancer

The surgery you have depends on the stage of the breast cancer and what you decide is right for you.