Asked by ELB
I'm Having A Bilateral Mastectomy. How Long Does It Take To Recover?
I've been diagnosed with a non-invasive "pre-cancer." Alone I know that it wouldn't be so scary, but my family beast cancer history is awful, with multiple close relatives dying at a young age from breast cancer. I've decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, and would like to know how long the recovery period is for just the mastectomy, as I'll have reconstruction at a later date.
Every woman will have a different experience, so there's no black-and-white answer here. A bilateral mastectomy is serious surgery; you'll be under general anesthesia, and that alone will make you feel woozy for several days. Beyond that, a lot depends on your own constitution and fitness: are you generally healthy? Do you tend to recover quickly from injuries and illness? Then you'll recover from this surgery more quickly than women who have other health issues, or are out of shape.
One factor that will affect your recovery time will be how many (if any) lymph nodes are removed: the more removed, the longer it will take for you to get your full range of motion back. With that in mind, be sure to ask your doctor about physical therapy for your arms and shoulders; that should help in your recovery.
In general, it will be 2 to 3 weeks before you can drive; not because you're unable, but because you want to avoid a tight seatbelt (or worse, a fender-bender) that might cause injury to your healing scars. So be sure there's someone who can help you get around.
For more helpful information, please read our Matectomy Insider Tips. Good luck -