Care Timeline

A "Care Timeline" is best described as an explanation of what to expect when.

Every individual is different but post-mastectomy care can be broken down into 5 basic steps.

 

Knowing all of the post-surgical options is the best way to make an informed decision.

Perioperative [0-5 days]

Defined as "the three stages of the operation, " the perioperativethe three stages of the operation: preoperative, intraoperat... includes preoperative fitting and counseling and the immediate post-operative period which is a primary period of healing during which an individual may still have surgical drains and sutures.

Preoperative fitting and counseling and immediate post-operative needs.

It is important that a pre-surgical or immediate post-operative evaluation be scheduled with a Certified Fitter.  While prosthetics should not be fit during this healing phase, specialty garments and non-weighted "prosthetic foam puffs" are available to help an individual.

Defined as “the three stages of the operation, ” including preoperative fitting and counseling, immediate post-operative (pre-prosthetic)

  • Pre operative
  • Intra operative
  • Post operative (surgical)
  • immediate post-operative period which is a primary period of healing during which an individual may still have surgical drains and sutures.

 

 

post-operative (pre-prosthetic)   [4-8 weeks]

sometimes grouped with the immediate post-operative stage.  postoperative mastectomy care is usually defined as the 4-8 weeks post surgery during which time the chest wall heals, drains are minimized and removed and the sutures are removed. Post-surgical tenderness, pain, and edema may still be a factor during this period.

initial external breast prosthetic care

sometimes as “temporary” stage 

  • defined as the 0-4 weeks post surgery
  • use of non weighted foam or cotton puff
  • no weight should be placed upon the chest wall
  • no adhesive contact should be used
  • Post-surgical tenderness, pain
  • reduced edema

 

Follow up (ongoing) external breast prosthetic care

sometimes as “weighted stagestage 

  • defined as the 4-6 weeks post surgery
  • chest wall is healed
  • Sutures/drains have been removed
  • use of weighted foam
  • no adhesive contact should be used
  • minimal tenderness, pain

 

lifetime external breast prosthesis (permanent prosthetic)

sometimes as “permanent” stage 

  • defined as the 6 weeks post surgery
  • chest wall is visible healed
  • use of silicone prosthesis
  • no adhesive contact should be used
    • adhesive is recommended after 1 year
  • Minimal tenderness, pain
  • non visible surgical edema 

RECONSTRUCTION

immediate reconstruction

A reconstruction process whereby a mastectomy is immediately followed by a simple surgical reconstruction.  This is most often used with Stage 0 or 1 diagnoses, smaller tumors, prophylactic mastectomies or nipple or skin-sparing mastectomy procedures.

delayed reconstruction [ 4 months - 2 years ]