Preparing for your Procedure
Based on their years of caring for patients with cancer, our staff at Northern Westchester Hospital and The Breast Institute have developed this information to help you prepare for your surgical procedure.
Please review the information below. Many of our patients find this information helpful to increase comfort level with the upcoming surgery and to help better prepare. Please remember, each procedure is unique. Please be sure to review the details of your upcoming procedure with your doctor. Also, make a list of questions to ask your doctor.
The morning of the surgery, please come to the Ambulatory Surgery Center, located upstairs from The Breast Institute, on the 2nd floor of the North Building. Please feel free to bring close family and friends if you’d like.
We care for you as if you are family, and are extremely sensitive to the particular needs of women who go through this experience. Our holistic approach enables us to treat you as a whole, feeling person and not just as someone who needs to be tested or “fixed.” We also understand the concerns of your loved ones.
As part of the effort to create a relaxing, holistic environment, you are encouraged to bring favorite family photos or mobile devices filled with your favorite music. You are even allowed to wear headphones with relaxing and healing music while in the operating room.
A pre-operative mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI may be performed before a breast preserving operation so the surgeons can pinpoint exactly where the cancer is located.
Before you go to the operating room, you will have an opportunity to speak with your surgeon about any final questions or concerns. You'll also meet your anesthesiologist.
If you’ve undergone breast preserving surgery, you will typically go home the same day. If you’ve had more extensive surgery or reconstructive surgery, your stay will usually be one to two days. Some specialized reconstructive surgeries require a three to four day hospital stay.
Many patients do not need drains. However, if you go home with drains, a nurse will train you (or a close family member) how to manage the drains and dressing.
Pain management is comprehensive. Senior level anesthesiologists at The Breast Institute are extensively trained in techniques custom-tailored for patients undergoing breast surgeries.
Finally, while recovering from surgery, breast cancer patients often have many visitors. While patient support is greatly encouraged, it is important to realize that you truly need your rest after a major surgery (mastectomy and a mastectomy combined with lymph node surgery and breast reconstruction). Many women are so used to being caretakers that it is often second nature for them, in the presence of loved ones, to want to meet their visitors’ needs rather than listening to the needs of their own bodies as they heal from surgery and anesthesia. For this reason, we encourage relatives and friends to be sensitive to your need to rest.