How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before your surgery, you'll meet with a surgeon and an anesthesiologist to discuss your operation, review your medical history and determine the plan for your anesthesia.

This is a good time to ask questions and to make sure you understand the procedure, including the reasons for and risks of the surgery.

One issue to discuss is whether you'll have breast reconstruction and when. One option may be to have the reconstruction done immediately after your mastectomy, while you're still anesthetized.

Breast reconstruction may involve:

  • Using breast expanders with saline or silicone implants
  • Using your body's own tissue (autologous tissue reconstruction)
  • Using a combination of tissue reconstruction and implants

Breast reconstruction is a complex procedure performed by a plastic surgeon, also called a reconstructive surgeon. If you're planning breast reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy, you'll meet with the plastic surgeon before the surgery.

Preparing for your surgery

You'll be given instructions about any restrictions before surgery and other things you need to know, including:

  • Tell your doctor about any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking. Some substances could interfere with the surgery.
  • Stop taking aspirin or other blood-thinning medication. A week or longer before your surgery, avoid medications that can increase your risk of excessive bleeding. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and other pain relievers, and blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants), such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Don't eat or drink 8 to 12 hours before surgery. You'll receive specific instructions from your health care team.
  • Prepare for a hospital stay. Ask your doctor how long to expect to stay in the hospital. Bring a robe and slippers to help make you more comfortable in the hospital. Pack a bag with your toothbrush and something to help you pass the time, such as a book.
Oct. 22, 2014