Preparing for a Lumpectomy or Mastectomy
The following information will help you prepare for your upcoming surgery. We hope this information will make the experience more comfortable for you. If you have any questions about the instructions, please contact the Breast Care Center staff.
- Patients who have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy with breast reduction generally stay overnight in the hospital after their procedure; patients who undergo a lumpectomy without reduction typically return home the same day. You may need to stay longer if it's medically necessary.
- You need to arrange to have a responsible adult drive you home. It is unsafe and against hospital policy to permit patients to drive themselves home after surgery when they have received medication that might slow responses, such as anesthesia, pain medication or medication to relieve anxiety.
- You will have an appointment with the Prepare Program before your surgery. At this visit, you and the Prepare Program staff will review any medications or supplements you're taking and discuss when to stop taking them before surgery.
- In general, we advise not eating or drinking anything after midnight on the night before your surgery. People with diabetes, heart disease or other illnesses should contact their primary care doctor for directions. Inform your doctor if you are taking warfarin (Coumadin) or any other blood-thinning medication.
- Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen for 10 days before your surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is OK.
- Stop taking vitamin E, fish oil, other omega-3, turmeric and garlic supplements two weeks before your surgery or as soon as possible. Vitamin E in a multivitamin is OK. Turmeric and garlic in food are OK.
Leading up to and while recovering from your surgery, we encourage consuming eight to 10 glasses of water and caffeine-free beverages per day, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and lower-fat foods. Make sure to have protein with each meal as it helps promote healing.
Nutritionist consultations are available through our Breast Care Center. Please let us know if you’d like a referral.
What to bring to the hospital
- Comfortable clothing (wear or bring). A two-piece, loose-fitting outfit with buttons or a zipper in front is easiest to put on after surgery.
- Phone and headphones. Consider downloading your favorite music and podcasts in advance.
- Sweater or sweatshirt.
- Light reading materials.
- List of important telephone numbers.
Do not bring valuables to the hospital. Leave them at home or give them to family and friends for safekeeping while you're in the hospital.
How to contact us
Call the Breast Care Center at (415) 353-7070 if you have questions or unaddressed emotional support needs. During business hours, ask to speak with a nurse. If the center is closed, your call will be forwarded to the answering service to reach your doctor or the doctor on call.
In an emergency, please call 911 or go to an emergency department near you.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.