What to expect after surgery

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will stay until you are awake and your condition and vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, and breathing) are stable.

How long you stay in the hospital depends on the surgery being performed, your overall state of health and whether you have any other medical problems, how well you do during surgery, and how you feel after surgery. Decisions about the length of your stay should be made by you and your doctor and not dictated by what your insurance will pay, but it is important to check your insurance coverage before surgery.

Often, men having a mastectomy and/or axillary lymph node dissection stay in the hospital overnight and then go home. However, it is becoming more common for the surgery to be done on an outpatient basis, with a short-stay in an observation unit before going home. Your doctor might arrange for a home care nurse to visit you at home to monitor your progress and provide care.

You will have a dressing (bandage) over the surgery site that may or may not snugly wrap around your chest. You may have one or more drains (plastic or rubber tubes) coming out from the breast or underarm area to remove blood and lymph fluid that collects during the healing process. Your health care team will teach you how to care for the drains, which may include emptying and measuring the fluid and identifying problems the doctor or nurse needs to know about. Most drains stay in place for 1 or 2 weeks. When drainage has decreased to about 30 cc (1 fluid ounce) each day, the drain will usually be removed.

Doctors rarely put the arm on the side of the surgery in a sling to hold it in place. Most doctors will want you to start moving that arm soon after surgery so that it won’t get stiff.


Written instructions after Surgery


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Chemotherapy for breast cancer in men

Hormone therapy for breast cancer in men

Targeted therapy for breast cancer in men

Bone-directed therapy for breast cancer in men



Coping and support for male breast cancer


Related Topics

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General breast cancer terms

Types of breast cancer in men








Oncologists, Breast Surgeons are the specialists who deal with the breast cancer