These suggestions are based on the experiences of ladies who have
been through Breast Reconstruction and are additional to advice given
by the surgeon and clinical teams looking after you.
Before you proceed with surgery.
Only proceed with Breast reconstruction surgery if you want to, not
because you feel it is expected or someone pushes you into it. Breast
Reconstruction is major surgery.
Ask questions – make sure you understand what your surgery entails.
If you have questions that you are concerned you may forget in the clinic
surroundings – write them down and ask your Surgeon or Breast Care
Prior To Hospital Admission
Remember - whatever clothes you come into hospital wearing you will
probably leave in, so make sure they are comfortable and easy to put
Moisturise your legs well prior to admission. Once on the ward you
will be required to wear TED stockings to reduce your risk of a clot
forming whilst you are a little less mobile than normal – these
can make your skin very dry, moisturising well before hand can help.
If surgery is on the side of your dominant arm especially in the
case of reconstruction surgery involving muscle from your back –
consider buying an electric toothbrush as it can make things a little
You will not be able to drive for a few weeks after surgery so consider
setting up an internet shop – if you have access - ready for
Consider buying a V pillow – they are comfy and supportive.
If they don’t make you feel too hot and sticky consider putting
satin sheets on the bed ready for your return, they make it much easier
to move when in bed.
You will need to bring into hospital a supportive sports bra –
ask your Surgeon or Breast Care Nurse for advice on this.
Remove any Nail Varnish.
What to bring into hospital with you.
(These are only suggestions)
Nightdress or Pyjamas – the Nurses and Surgeons will need easy
access to your breast and other surgery sites so wear garments that open
down the front. As you will have drains after surgery, avoid full length
items – they get in the way!
Dressing Gown – lightweight – it is very warm on the ward.
Toiletries – Soap, Flannel, Towel, Shampoo, Deodorant, Hairbrush,
Tissues, Toothbrush and Toothpaste, you may like to include some makeup
to wear once you feel a little better. Your lips can also become very
dry following surgery so lip balm is also a good idea.
Bottle of fruit Juice or Squash – you will need to drink plenty
of water and adding this will make it tastier.
Pen/Paper and reading materials.
Nail file – nails always break when you don’t have one!
Telephone Numbers – the ward has a “Patientline”
facility which includes a phone, you will need some cash initially to
set this up. Machines are located around the hospital.
Any Medication you regularly take.
When You Go Home.
Ask whoever collects you to bring some pillows to support you in the
car, also a further pillow or soft cushion to place between the seatbelt
and your breast, otherwise it can be a little uncomfortable.
Once you return home be prepared to need lots of sleep and rest. Do
nothing for the first week other than rest and continue with any gentle
exercises advised by your breast care nurse or physiotherapist during
your hospital stay.
Drink lots of fluids and eat plenty of fruit, this will help prevent
constipation – a hazard whilst you are less mobile and taking painkillers.
LAUGH A LOT!! – this makes you feel better, reduces stress and
boosts your immune system.
A bit of general advice.
You won’t ever forget your Breast Cancer or Reconstruction but
there is life after it all. Your emotional and physical scars will heal
and you’ll return to a life without surgeons, weird sleeping positions
or checking your breasts constantly throughout the day.
Once your able – GO SHOPPING- and buy the prettiest bra you can