Prepare for Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. Your physician can make clear the choices of surgery and talk to you about their benefits and risks, and how each will affect how you look.

Types of Procedures

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?
  • 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 wound when I get home?
  • Where will the scars be? What will they look like?

What to Do Before Surgery

  • Do not 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, and so on). You will be given specific instructions.
  • If you have special needs, please ask your doctor.
  • 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-surgery checkup.

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.