5 Common Questions About Life After a Mastectomy

Before a breast removal surgery, you and your surgeon will discuss the physical and mental changes and challenges to expect post-procedure. However, you may have a few lingering questions about what your life will be like after surgery.

This is completely normal with any type of surgery. No matter how prepared you are, you may find yourself in new circumstances that leave you wondering what life after a mastectomy will be like.

1. Can I exercise after surgery?

Directly post-procedure, you will experience bruising, stiffness, and swelling. This is a normal part of the recovery process, as this type of surgery affects the shoulder and chest muscles.

Though it is best to ask your doctor before starting, many women can begin gentle shoulder stretching routines to increase their range of motion after two weeks.

For high-intensity workouts, such as resistance training and strength exercises, it is best to wait at least three months before starting routine.

2. Can I help my scars fade faster?

Scars will never go away entirely, and it may take a year or two for the area to fully heal. However, patience is important when it comes to scars, and after healing, they will eventually begin to fade.

Though there are products containing Vitamin E oil and other natural ingredients that claim to lessen the appearance of scars, there is very little scientific evidence to back these claims up.

3. Will the numbness go away or improve?

Tissue numbness is a common side effect of breast removal surgery, though the amount of numbness you experience is hard to predict.
It is possible for feeling to return after several years and complete healing, but you should not expect to regain full feeling in the breasts.

4. Will I be able to wear a normal bra?

Directly following surgery, it is best to steer clear of wired bras and standard bras that don’t stand up to your new needs. Purpose-made mastectomy bras come in many shapes, sizes, and styles and are outfitted with various, customizable features to make post-mastectomy bra shopping easy and enjoyable.

5. How long will I be in discomfort?

Following your breast removal surgery, you will likely experience the most discomfort directly after the procedure. Many women experience the highest level of soreness and discomfort for several days post-procedure. Your doctor will likely prescribe medication to help ease this discomfort.

Again, this is completely normal, and your discomfort will fade as your body heals and the swelling goes down.

Most women find that their wounds take about two to three weeks to heal and become comfortable.

Final Thoughts

The physical and emotional changes in life after a mastectomy may seem challenging, but you don’t have to face them alone. Talk to your doctor before and after surgery about what to expect so that you have the best possible understanding of what to expect.

Additionally, seek out the advice and companionship of other women who have undergone breast cancer surgery to help ease your mind and prepare you for the road ahead.

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