This is for patients who have had breast surgery to treat a benign breast condition. It gives information about what you need to do after your operation. It also provides you with contact numbers if you need some help or advice.

Pain and discomfort                                      

You may find that following the surgery, as bruising develops, you become uncomfortable and sore.

Provided you do not have an allergy to the painkiller, it is safe to use over-the-counter painkillers to reduce your pain so you can be more active.

It is important to use painkillers carefully, as they have side effects. Paracetamol is the simplest and safest painkiller. However, always get advice before taking paracetamol if you have liver or kidney problems

You could also try anti-inflammatory tablets like Ibuprofen as long as you don’t have a condition (such as a stomach ulcer) that prevents you using them.

Always take your painkillers at regular intervals at the recommended dose / exactly as prescribed. This is to make sure they work as well as possible for you. The aim is for pain control to be constant.

Putting off taking painkillers can make the pain more severe. It may then take longer to get it under control when you do take them.

If you have been given painkillers for breakthrough pain, do not wait for it to get bad before taking them.

If over-the-counter painkillers do not work, ask for help from your GP or pharmacist.

Changing position and using a pillow to support the wound can help reduce discomfort.

Please do not use a hot water bottle as this can lead to scalding of the skin.  


Breast wounds are initially fragile and need protecting. With a wound on a bra line or under the arm you will find placing a piece of gauze between the wound and your bra beneficial

Your wound will be checked before you leave hospital. In most cases the stitches are absorbable and will not need to be removed.

Your wound will be covered with wound glue which forms a waterproof layer over the skin and therefore you can have a shower 24 hours after the surgery.

Please avoid soap or deodorant in this area until the wound has completely healed.

We advise that you do not apply moisturiser to your wound until it has fully healed, usually after 2 weeks. You can then gently massage the wound with unperfumed cream to help soften the scar.


You should try and rest as much as much as possible for the remainder of today and then resume normal daily activities.

Eating well and remaining active will aid recovery and encourage your wound to heal quickly.

We encourage gentle exercise and you can start this within a couple of days (walking). However contact and high impact sport is best avoided for the next two weeks.

Avoid swimming or soaking in a bath for four weeks following the operation.

Avoid heavy lifting for two weeks.

You should not drive for at least one week following the surgery; you must be in total control of the vehicle.

We advise you have one week off work following the operation.

When will I get the results of my operation?

You will receive an outpatient clinic appointment by post or phone two to three weeks following your operation. We will check your wound and give you the results of any lump that has been removed.

Seek medical advice with your GP or Practice Nurse as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Increasing pain
  • Pain that does not settle with analgesia
  • Swelling does not settle
  • A wound that feels tender and hot to the touch
  • Significant discharge from the wound
  • Feeling flu-like, generally unwell with a raised temperature

Ref: 04/21/01
Review: 07/23