Preparing for your Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer, and there are several types of surgical approaches. Your physician can explain each type, discuss and compare their benefits and risks, and describe how each will affect your appearance. Before surgery or upon initial diagnosis, there are different types of procedures your physician may request. Click on any of the links below to read about the procedure that applies to you, including preparations:

Questions to Ask Before Your Surgery

  • What kinds of surgery can I consider?
  • Is breast-sparing surgery an option?
  • Which operation do you recommend for me?
  • What are the risks of surgery?
  • Should I store some of my own blood in case I need a transfusion?
  • Do I need my lymph nodes removed? How many? Why? What special precautions will I need to take if lymph nodes are removed?
  • How will I feel after the operation?
  • Will I need to learn how to do special things to take care of myself or my incision when I get home?
  • Where will the scars be? What will they look like?

What to Do Before Surgery

  • You cannot eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your procedure.
  • You may be advised to stop taking certain medications that might increase the risk of bleeding during surgery (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Coumadin, Plavix, etc.). You will be given specific instructions.
  • If you have special needs, please ask.
  • You must arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
  • You may need to have a blood test, EKG, or other testing done several days before your procedure.
  • You may need to see your internist or cardiologist for a pre-operative check-up.

What to Do on the Day of Surgery

  • Do not wear makeup, nail polish, jewelry, or contact lenses.
  • Please leave your valuables at home.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid form of identification to register.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to change. Wear comfortable shoes, or slippers.
  • Do not eat or drink anything.
  • You may shower and brush your teeth in the morning, but try not to swallow any water.