Recovery Time For A Mastectomy


Asked by Cristina Smith

Recovery Time For A Mastectomy

How long does it really take to recover from a mastectomy, (to be up, driving and lifting things)??

My doctors are telling me this can be done as an outpatient procedure and I'll be fine in 3 days!!

I had a lumpectomy done in the beginning of November (Stage I, Grade 2) with no lymph node involvement. I do not require chemo and can not have radiation because I am 21 weeks pregnant. The doctors feel it is too risky to wait another 4 1/2 months to start radiation and are recommending a mastectomy now.

I still don't have the full range of motion in my left arm due to the lumpectomy and find it hard to believe that I will be recovered from a mastectomy within 3 days of the surgery.

Thanks for any advice you can give me on this one.

Criss -


Cristina, my surgeon told me a three-week recovery from mastectomy, but it was closer to six weeks before I had full range of motion. I think I was driving in about two weeks, but it was hard to reach up and over to get my seat belt fastened longer than that. Everyone heals at a different pace, and I had lots of lymph nodes removed, so you may get well faster than I did, but three days?

One thing I've learned about insurance and outpatient surgery is that if the insurance company thinks it's an outpatient procedure, the hospital schedules it that way, but if you aren't ready to go home that day, the doctor can then admit you overnight. I've had to do that a couple of times because anesthesia makes me nauseated. Ask the surgeon whether you can stay in the hospital longer if you don't feel well enough to go home.

Answered by Phyllis Johnson