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Breast Surgery

Post-operative Care

After your surgery your wound will be closed with dissolving sutures (stitches) and covered with thin, adhesive strips called Steri-strips and a waterproof plastic dressing. This dressing will still be on when you leave hospital, and will be changed at your post-operative appointment.
How long you need off work depends on the type of surgery you have had and how physical your work is. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.
It’s very important you follow the instructions your surgeon gives you about how much activity you can do at home, as you are much more likely to develop complications if you are too active too soon.
Your surgeon will also prescribe you pain relief – take it regularly, as described, and call your surgeon if it doesn’t control your pain well. There is no medal for the woman who takes the least pain relief.


Modern surgery and anaesthesia is generally safe, with few risks.
However, a few women develop a complication, such as a wound infection, after their surgery. If your wound becomes infected a red, hot and painful area will develop around it and you may feel unwell and/or feverish. If this happens, it is very important to ring Breast Associates and make an appointment to see a doctor.
Other complications can include swelling, bruising, altered sensation, lymphoedema (swelling in your lymph glands), shoulder stiffness and – very rarely – a blood clot or heart attack. Your surgeon and anaesthetist will know your medical history and any particular risks you face.
If you are concerned about any symptoms, call your surgeon straight away. Our nurses are also happy to talk to you about your symptoms at any time during the day.
At your post-operative appointment, your surgeon will check your wound, the dressing will be changed and you will have a chance to talk about the results of your surgery and any concerns you may have.

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