Breast Care wound advice sheet

Please note, this page is printable by selecting the normal print options on your computer.

Breast surgery in the present day, does not have a big impact on your daily activities of living and lifestyle, but there are some restrictions listed below.

Following your breast surgery:
• There are usually no dressings to the wound.

• Stitches used are dissolvable, meaning they will not require removal; they should dissolve after 10-14 days. The stitches are inside the wound, therefore not visible.

• There will be a layer of surgical glue applied to the wound, which means that it may look slightly purple in colour. The glue seals the wound, in order to reduce the risk of infection and you may also shower the next day. (Please do not use anything but warm water over the wound and do not soak in the bath or stand for long periods in the shower.) The glue hardens over time and will eventually come away from the skin, although this may take several weeks.

• You may also have a drain inserted whilst you are asleep. Again this depends upon the surgery you have, as most breast surgery does not require a drain. The drain is very easy to look after and the discharge nurses on the ward before you go home and the Breast Care Nurses will be able to inform you how to look after this, how to change the drain if required and when it is removed. The drain is portable and showerproof and you are able to fully mobilise with it, as you will be given a bag to carry the drain in.

• Please avoid putting creams, ointments or dressings on the wound whilst it heals. Perfumed products such as shower gels, soaps, talc and body lotions should be avoided for the first three weeks, until the wound has fully healed and the glue has disappeared. Once the wound has healed, you can return to using your normal products. If you have an axilla wound (Armpit wound) the same applies, please refrain from using deodorants, until the wound has fully healed. There are some post-surgical perfume free deodorants you can buy, Please ask Breast Care Nurses if more information required.

• No Heavy lifting and house work should be avoided for 2-4 weeks. This may vary, depending upon the type of surgery you have had.

• Swimming should be avoided until the wound is fully healed.

• Exercising – Please ask Breast Care team, as this depends upon the type of surgery you have had.

• Returning to work may be possible in 1-2 weeks, but again this may change, depending on the extent of your surgery and type of job you perform.

• A suitable bra should also be worn after surgery, until the wound has healed. This may be required for up to six weeks, but ask the Breast Care Nurses if you are unsure. The bra should be well fitted and provide adequate support to the breasts. Non wired is advisable. These can be purchased online or from any leading retail store or supermarket. You may also wish to wear a support top/vest, with integrated support or sports bra.

• Your wound should be clean and dry. Please look out for any redness, swelling, leakage from the wound, or if you feel generally unwell with a temperature and/or feverish symptoms. These are signs of infection and you should ring the Breast Care Nurses, who will advise you what to do. During the hours of 8.30am-4.30pm – 01908 996924. Outside these hours you may contact your own GP for advice or an appointment, A&E, or the Urgent Care Centre on 01908 303030.

If you require any further help or advice about your breast surgery, or any other information, please do not hesitate to contact the breast care nurses.