Philip L. Leggett, MD
Houstonlaparoscopic surgery

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Health Information

Surgical Instructions for Mastectomy, Lumpectomy, and Axillary Node Dissection

We realize that meeting under this set of circumstances isn't exactly ideal, but we're here to help you get through this surgical event as smoothly and uneventfully as possible. Here is some information we hope you find useful and help to answer some of the many questions you may have.

Prior to the date of your surgery, you will be required to obtain some lab work, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. (If this has been completed, please disregard). In addition, a CT scan and a Bone Scan will need to be obtained either before or after the surgery.

The same procedure will be followed as when you had your breast biopsy. The day of surgery, you will be asked to report 2-3 hours before the scheduled procedure. This allows for:

  • Adequate check in time
  • Any unexplained delays
  • Any last minute testing that may be required

Please have family members wait in the surgical waiting room, as Dr. Leggett will speak to them when the procedure is complete.

It is recommended that you wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes the day of your surgery; i.e., sweat suit and tennis shoes. This will help accommodate the bra and bulky dressing you will be wearing.

Admission to the hospital will most likely be for overnight and discharge will be the next day, provided there are no complications. However, if you have had reconstruction, your Plastic Surgeon will decide when you go home and help manage your post-op care, in addition to Dr. Leggett.

Upon discharge from the hospital, you will experience:

Paper tapes over the incisions; leave them on until the edges roll up on their own, then remove. This may vary from 3-7 days. If blisters occur, keep clean with soap and water.
  • There will be two (2) drains in the incision. These will stay in until drainage is less than 25cc for a 24-hour period of time. This may take several days. You will be instructed on how to empty the drains and record the drainage before you leave the hospital. It is not unusual to experience numbness and a tingling sensation when the drains are in place. You may shower while the drains are in place. When the drains have been removed, you may experience some drainage from the drain site(s) for 2-3 days afterwards. This is normal! Keep clean with soap and water. You may begin to use deodorant as soon as the axillary (armpit) incision is completely healed (approximately 3 weeks)
  • You will be given a prescription for pain pills; have it filled and take as directed. Extra-Strength Tylenol may be taken for mild discomfort.
  • Physical activities are not restricted. Exercises that are recommended are walking the surgical arm up the wall and combing your hair. Get up, get dressed and put your makeup on, you will feel better! You may drive a car whenever you feel like you can turn around comfortably, step on the gas and brake and not get in an accident.

You will need to call the office and schedule an appointment approximately one week after discharge from the hospital. Call 2-3 days before you want to come in. If you have appointments with other doctors i.e., oncologist, plastic surgeon, we will do our best to try to see you on the same day. In addition to the oncologist, Dr. Leggett will want to see you:

  • One week after surgery
  • One month after surgery
  • Every 3 months after surgery for the first year
  • Every 6 months after surgery for the second year
  • Every year after the surgery for the third year
  • You will also need yearly mammograms, CT Scan, and Bone Scans

If you should experience any of the following, please notify the office at 281-580-6767:

  • Temperature greater than 101
  • Redness, puffiness, or swelling at incision sites
  • Drainage that is yellow in color and smells bad
  • Sever pain unrelieved by the pain medication