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Breast Care (After Mastectomy Surgery)

It is advisable not to lift your arms above your head as it causes fluid build up, makes your body hurt and can lead to the development of scar tissue. 

  • Don’t do anything strenuous for the first 6 weeks. 

  • Do not bend over forward, move your arms more than is needed.

  • Don’t carry anything heavier than a coffee mug for the first 2 weeks.

  • No weight lifting for the first 3 months after surgery. 

If you move too much in a day or you are too active or did not rest enough, your body will be sore the next day and the fluid output of your drains will be more. It is always a good way to gauge that your body is telling you to slow down. Give your body time to heal. 

It is easier to move around once the drains have been removed because it can pull on your skin or on the stitches that are holding them together, the drains are more of an irritation than anything else. Get Dry Shampoo, if you have to wash your hair or comb, do not lift your arms past your ears (even if you can).

Rest as much as possible and overdoing it to avoid any possible complications.


Exfoliate daily
You might feel a “rawness” or skin sensitivity for the first 2-3 months after surgery. Exfoliating daily can help restore the sensation as well as help with the circulation as you might get spots or a breakout on your chest following surgery. 


Breast pain
You might experience phantom pain of the breast tissue that has been removed while nerve endings are restored (Phantom Breast Syndrome) on and off, painful and non-painful sensations. This could occur up to a year after surgery. 


Scar Massage
Once your scar has healed you can softly touch the incision site with small movements. Moving your skin will help soften the tissue and increase blood flow to the area. 


Massaging your scar

  • Use 2 or 3 fingers and gently move it across your incision site, from side to side. Do not squeeze. 

  • Pick your fingers up 1-2 cm from your skin and move it around on either side of your scar. Repeat. 

  • Do this massage for 5 to 10 minutes a day. 


Doing arm exercises regularly can keep your body from forming scar tissue. 


Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises, humming, relaxation and meditation can help you find some relief and calm your nervous system. It can also help activate the vagus nerve that aids in the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and help move your body out of the fight-or-flight response.


Trauma from surgery
A mastectomy is a big operation you have endured, it can take its toll physically. You can speak to your doctor or healthcare provider to get a referral to a psychologist (or somatic therapist) for soma therapy, TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises). It is normal for your body to go through a healing process after traumatic experiences, such as surgery. 

Trauma can be stored anywhere in your body. Mostly in the chest, shoulders, upper torso, lower back, abdominal, core and spine. TRE releases the pain from your body through specifically guided exercises by a professional. At home exercises can also be given. Only consider this once the healing process has taken place. 

Regular gentle Yoga or Pilates stretches can help relieve muscle tension, relax and reset the nervous system. 

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