Mastectomy: Instructions Before Surgery

The following information will help you prepare for your upcoming surgery. We hope this information may help to make this experience more comfortable for you. If you have any questions regarding the instructions, please contact the Breast Care Center staff.

  • You will need to have a responsible adult to drive you home. You will generally stay overnight in the hospital after your mastectomy. You may stay longer if it is medically necessary. It is unsafe and against hospital policy to permit you to drive home after surgery when you have received any medication that might slow your responses, such as anesthesia, pain medication or any medication to relieve anxiety.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery. Any medications that you take routinely should be taken at the usual time with a sip or two of water. People with diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses should contact their primary care doctor for directions. Inform us if you are taking Coumadin or other blood thinning medication.
  • Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products for 10 days before your surgery. Tylenol is okay. Also, stop taking vitamin E supplements two weeks before your surgery or as soon as possible, although vitamin E in a multivitamin is OK.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, such as a two-piece, loose outfit with a zipper or buttons in front that is really east to put on. Some women prefer a loose dress with a zipper or buttons in front. Please bring it with you.

What to Bring to the Hospital

Recommended items to bring with you to stay in the hospital include:

  • Personal items, such as a toothbrush, toiletries, pillow, earplugs
  • Slippers and extra socks
  • Music player and headphones as well as your favorite music, books on tape, etc.
  • Bathrobe that opens in the front, a sweater with buttons or a zipper
  • Light reading
  • List of important telephone numbers

Also, do not bring valuables with you to the hospital, or give them to family and friends.

If you have not chosen immediate reconstruction we will give you information about a temporary breast form/softee. If you have chosen reconstruction, consult the specific information given to you by your nurse.


Mastectomy: Instructions After Surgery


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.