• The Post breast surgery list please.

    Asked by Grandy on Thursday, April 18, 2013

    The Post breast surgery list please.

    What is a shower scarf?
    What was the suggested bra?
    Do we need a bra to hold up the drains?
    About how many times a day do the drains need to be emptied? Will I be able to do this myself?

    27 Answers from the Community

    27 answers
    • mombarber's Avatar

      I used a Fanny pack for my drains. I also wrapped silk scarf around my waist and stick them in there

      over 5 years ago
    • Ladykarla's Avatar

      The hospital provided me with a corset that had pockets to hold the drains. I am having flap reconstruction later. I had incisions under both arms so I could not wear it. I, too, used the diaper pin method. My husband and I hooked the drains to my nightgown. We emptied my drains when they got about half full and measured the output. When the output is down to a certain level they will take the drains out. I was able to drain them myself when my husband went back to work. I had one fall out, two taken out after two weeks and one taken out after three weeks. The nurses at the hospital will give you instructions and will go over all this. The key things to remember here are don't panic, have patience and call your doctor or nurse if you need to ask a question. Be prepared with lots of pillows so you can sleep. I wasn't aware of a shower scarf, but it sure sounds nice. As for a bra, that hasn't happened for me yet. I am still very tender, but the doctors are amazed at how fast I healed. The plastic surgeon said my skin is beautiful. You are going to get through this. Do not hesitate to contact me. You can do this!

      over 5 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I am not aware of a shower scarf.
      After I healed, I was measured and got a regular mastectomy bra which has the pockets for the prosthesis. I understand that the preform bras are not the best idea -- I was told that they take days to dry, etc. To be honest with you, I only wear my bra/prosthesis when I have to. I find that going braless is just so comfortable and I am past the stage of caring what others think.
      As for the drains -- I had three -- my son-in-law came up with this idea for me -- I had one of those velvet Crown Royal bags -- we placed the drains in the bag and I clipped the bag to one of those ID things that you wear around your neck. It was makeshift but it worked for me especially at night. I would empty the drains twice a day and record the amount. My daughter assisted me at first but then I did it myself with no problem. They came out one by one once the amount stayed below the target. The drains are not fun to deal with but you will have that stage behind you in no time at all. I wish you the very best!!

      over 5 years ago
    • alphphi02's Avatar

      They gave me a surgical compression bra in the hospital which was great. They sent me home with my 4 drains safety pinned (big giant safety pins) to the bottom of the bra. You could really pin them to anything. I needed help emptying my drains the first few days but did them myself after that. They gave me a sheet and told me to empty and record twice a day. I then called in tge totals every morning, praying they could come out lol. About 5 weeks post op, I was able to go without a bra. My incisions were too sensitive and a shirt rubbing against them was uncomfortable. Now two plus months l later, I almost never wear a bra ... It's awesome!!

      over 5 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      You can find lots of great things at affordable prices on TLC.com (American Cancer Society's ecommerce site) I would definitely recommend a bra that has the little removable pouches for the drains. They helped so much. You want to make sure they are secure so that that they don't pull out or tangle up when sleeping, etc. Also, they make things a bit more convenient when dressing to go out of the house. I emptied my drains 2x/day and kept a log of how much came out. They had given me a cup to pour into so I could measure correctly. The doctor will need to review this log to help determine when the drains can come out. I think it was if under 10cc. They will also show you how to drain the tubes correctly by squeezing it and pulling it down. They could clog a bit and flow may be retarded. Yes, it was easy to do myself. At first, I was afraid, then I was doing it like a pro, just had to get the thought of it out of my head! I don't know what a shower scarf is, never used one. Unless it is a cap so that your head doesn't get wet. I do remember making a cover for my surgical area so that I could shower after surgery. The site of mastectomy can't get wet for a few days so I took a Hefty bag and cut arm and head holes and was able to cover the area pretty well. Also, make sure you do no lifting, even opening a window while this heals. You will be amazed though how quickly you heal! Best of luck!

      over 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I never heard of a shower scarf....
      Surgeon put on a surgical bra immediatel following surgery...once it was taken off, I found a front opening "sports" type bra at Walmart that was inexpensive and fairly comfy.....I forget how long I wore it, but only a couple months or so...
      Drains....didn't wear anything special to hold them....DH helped empy them....twice daily.....

      over 5 years ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar

      My surgery was in the winter so I wore a tank top under my blouse & pinned the bulbs to the tank top so they wouldn't show when I went out. I was given this hand made sack at the surgeons office that I used when I slept. It hung around my neck. In the shower I used a long hook, like for hanging plants, & I hooked one end to the little plastic piece on the bulbs & hung the other end to the soap dish.
      I emptied them & recorded the output on a chart they gave me. They came out in 2 weeks at my checkup.
      Don't be afraid to ask questions before you leave the hospital. They should tell you what & how they like you to take care of them. Stay strong you'll get through this too!

      over 5 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      The Shower Shirt is amazing, invented by a friend of mine. www.showershirt.com. I was sent home in a surgical bra, after my draisn were reomved and selling went down, I was told to wear a sports bra with a front closure. I safety pinned the drains to whatever shirt I was wearing (always button downs as you can't lift your arms too well). And tat is the reason I don't ever wear button downs anymore! LOL. I emptied the draisn myself, about 3-4 times per day. It is easy to do and you will get instructions before you leave the hospital.

      over 5 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      Thanks! All of the sudden, I feel I have a lot to learn, decide, and buy!!! BUT I still have a couple of weeks. I don't feel prepared by the doctors office. And ya can't go shopping AFTER surgery!

      I'll go look up who spoke of the shower scarf. But a Hefty garbage bag sounds lovely!!! Thanks, Debco!!! HA!

      over 5 years ago
    • HearMeRoar's Avatar

      The shower scarf offered here was the best thing I had post surgery. A girl from my hometown that I have never met sent it to me. It's expensive but it was worth every penny (she) spent LOL. My goal is to find a way to make them and give them to mastectomy patients at my local hospital.

      over 5 years ago
    • Risa's Avatar

      Hi Grandy,

      I bought a mastectomy bra before surgery which I still wear as it is front opening and supportive and comfortable like a sports bra. I had four drains. I just pinned them to the bottom of the bra during the day and to the bottom of my pajama top at night and slept on my back. I had my mastectomy with immediate implants on a Tuesday and went to church on Sunday wearing a dress with the drains pinned to the waistband inside the dress hanging down on each side hidden by the fullness of the dress, Two drains were out within 6 days and the other two within about 10 days. You really should be resting during this time anyways so I wouldn't worry too much about buying extra things.I did use buttoned down tops and still use them when I go in for checkups so that I don't mess up my wig. The nurse at the hospital will give you the written instructions and charts to fill out to bring to your doctor. My husband pampered me with doing all of the work with the drains but I did it myself when he was busy. The main thing is to keep everything sterile. The main thing that I would like to share with you is that it does not hurt when they remove the drains as that was a concern of mine!

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Are you having reconstruction? That makes a big difference in how much you can do right after surgery. I had no reconstruction and was back on the bike on day six... I could reach anything that was at eye level with no problems... and had no problems getting shirts on and off after about one week.

      If you have reconstruction, then things are quite a bit different. There are more restrictions about what you can do... and quite a bit more pain management involved. The drains stay in longer as well.

      Emptying the bulbs is easy breezy.... I placed mine in the pockets of somewhat baggy pants... and then just wore a longer shirt or sweater... Nothing to see. I was lucky, I think, because the weather was COLD when I had surgery... which meant that I was wearing jeans and hoodies... making tucking away the bulbs super easy....

      I would err on the side of NOT buying stuff because you'll use it for such a short time. If you can borrow stuff... or make do with things like the fanny pack idea or what have you, then do that! Also, you can often borrow quite a bit. Also, I'm a cheapskate! I admit it!

      For sleeping, I just used a bunch of pillows... so that was pretty easy. But, again, without reconstruction is quite a bit easier.

      Good luck! I hope you are able to get your questions answered before your surgery date!

      over 5 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      Leepenn, yes, I begin reconstruction with mastectomy.

      Risa, I am frugal too! :)

      over 5 years ago
    • Mel's Avatar

      Never heard of shower scarf... My doctors gave me couple special bras and then in hospital gave me two more. My mom safety pinned my drains to the bra so they weren't just dangling at my sides (she is so creative). lots of button down or zip up shirts and stretchy pants. Depending on fluid you release mine was in the early a.m. and evening. I couldn't seem to drain myself bugged me to much my mom or boyfriend did it. She works Playtex so we got Wetones and put around top of drain next to you then pulled down made it slicker and not so pulley on me plus they are antibacterial so two birds one stone :) Best of Luck!!!...

      over 5 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Drains are a total pain! They made me feel like a "nursing mother"--and it was a bother to try to hide them. BUT--getting them out is WONDERFUL! You feel so FREE after that!

      I'd suggest buying some tank tops to wear after your surgery. I went to Goodwill and bought about 8 of them and they were (and still are) so comfy to wear after my bilat. I especially like the soft ones as they feel good against my skin.

      Never heard of a shower scarf!

      over 5 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar

      A shower cap is nothing but one of those caps you wear in the shower when you don't want your hair to get wet. I would imagine that you could find them in any department store where the hair care products are.

      over 5 years ago
    • cris' Avatar

      I wore my zip-up hodie jacket inside out so the side pockets were inside, I put my drains in there, just a thought,and sports bras that hook in the from from walmart work very well & were cheap.

      over 5 years ago
    • jgoat01's Avatar

      They gave me two masectomy bras with Velcro pouches to hold the drain tube bulbs. I would suggest a big button up shirt, that made it way easier on me. I drained mine 3 times a day and then it went to twice a day. Mine were in about 2 weeks andi slept in a recliner. It seemed to be easier on me than the bed. I had help for the first week changing bandages and putting bra on. It wasn't too awfully bad for me and I wish you the best of luck!!

      over 5 years ago
    • chutzpah's Avatar

      I pinned the drains to my panties when I showered

      over 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Someone posted a similar question recently. You may benefit from reading the responses she got as well:


      over 5 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      Gwendolyn, thank you! Yes, I had copied that other set of posts.

      Everybody, I went shopping today and got several of the things you all suggested. So thanks to all!

      over 5 years ago
    • sallie's Avatar

      Such great information. I always have a small soft pillow in the car to put under the seat belt for my rides to the doctor and store. An extra one to take with for someone else's car too.

      about 5 years ago
    • StephanieO's Avatar

      A belt was given to me at the hospital. It's adjustable and holds the drains. I don't know what I would have done without it. I just assumed all patients got one.

      about 5 years ago
    • littlebird's Avatar

      I had a vest that had pockets in it for the drains. You will need to get something to hold up the drains while in the shower. A friend of mine used shoe laces, I had two badge holders that didn't cut into the drain tubes. As far as a bra goes, if you are having reconstruction done at the same time, your plastic surgeon should tell you what they want you to wear, and you will need to wear it 24/7 if you are not having reconstruction, asked your surgeon. You will need to sleep sitting up for a week. The drains will be emptied as many times as you need to drain them. They are clear, and you will see the drainage. Have the nurse at the hospital show you had to drain the tubing too, because It will get clogged otherwise. You will have to document how much fluid. One for the left and one for the right if you are having a double mastectomy. You will be able to do all of this yourself. Be Brave. My husband was a great support for me. I suggest you have someone with you when they show you how to drain the tube, because you may be so overwhelmed that you might forget. My name is Nancy and I am a 6 month Breast Cancer survivor. I had a double mastectomy in Nov. 2011. You can right me back if you have anymore questions. I will be more than happy to help you. Best of luck!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • telgass' Avatar

      I had immediate flap reconstruction and the doctor said NO bra for at least 3 weeks, so I couldn't pin the drains to the bra, and didi't like pinning them to the inside of my shirts. Instead, I bought an inexpensive cloth "tool apron" from home depot (less than $1). I got 2. you just tie it around your waist, and stick the drain bulbs in the pockets/pouches. the whole thing is very discreet under loose clothing. I loved that apron! for the shower, I just used an old cord-type lanyard and put that around my neck, and hung the drain bulbs from it by clipping the safety pins over the lanyard cord. You could probably do the same with a long shoelace. Because of my reconstruction, I had to be careful of my sleeping position for many weeks. I was also very weak after my 12 hour surgery, and had a big abdominal incision which made it difficult to get in and out of bed or even to sit up in bed to swallow a pill! my husband had to literally lift my head off the pillow and lift me gently under the back to sit up, since I could not use my abdominal muscles. I found the use of a giant body pillow to be invaluable for sleeping for the first month. It is a giant (about 5 ft. long) u-shaped pillow. you nestle into the middle, with the "arms on either side of you, and the "U" under your head. It kept me comfy and supported in bed, and kept me lying flat on my back without fear of rolling over. It was so supportive, like a cocoon! They market them to women who've had a cesarian. I would highly recommend getting one! With the drains, they aren't as bad as you might think, but I was so weak I needed help at first. don't forget to "strip" the drain tubing, to get a good suction to clear out any clogs and promote faster drainage. the nurses can show you how before you leave the hospital. Good luck to you.

      about 5 years ago
    • telgass' Avatar

      Almost forgot: There is a book I would highly recommend called "Now What?" by Amy curran Baker and her 2 sisters (nurses). 2 of the sisters went through mastectomies within a year. the book is a small paperback and available on Amazon, and chock full of advice from other mastectomy patients. A friend had it sent to me as a gift before my surgery, and I just poured though it. It was my bible in getting prepared for my surgery, since my doctors didn't give me much practical advice. In addition to preparing you for what to expect before, during, and especially afte surgery, the book has tear out sheets for bulb drainage log, medication log, as well as post operative doctor visit logs. it is a wonderful resource. also has a suggested packing list for the hospital, as well as an index with helpful links and resources.

      about 5 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      Thanks so much! Before surgery i copied and studied all the notes. I have tried many of the drain choices... I think they just ARE a pain to deal with! 2 have ben removed. I'm impatiently waiting to get rid of the other 2. I think one of them has been pulled a bit too much as I stripped the tubes myself. So now i have to have it wrapped around somehow. (Too hard to explain)

      about 5 years ago

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