A mastectomy is when one undergoes a surgery to remove breast tissue. This is done through the partial or complete surgical removal of both or one breast. People usually get a mastectomy when they have breast cancer, as this is one of the treatments. People also get a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer if they were informed that they were at high risk of getting breast cancer.

You may have resorted to a mastectomy because you weren’t able to undergo a breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy. Whatever reason you may have for getting a mastectomy, you may experience levels of pain or discomfort, ranging from moderate to extensive. These recovery tips may assist you in easing any discomfort you feel post mastectomy:

Wear A Post Surgical Bra

A post surgical bra is a bra that’s designed to promote stabilization in your chest and make use of soft materials to encourage minimal pressure on sensitive areas. These bras help keep various post-surgery accoutrements, such as drainage tubes, securely in places until they’re removed. This may be a good addition to your post-surgery wardrobe and may invite less discomfort into your recovery journey.

Take Pain Medication

The pain associated with mastectomy can be difficult to endure, particularly if you had a bilateral mastectomy. Both your arms as well as certain areas in your chest area may experience discomfort or pain as well.

You may find it advantageous to take some pain medication and make sure anything you take is approved by your doctor. The numbness or discomfort you experience around the breast incision or chest wall may be reduced by the use of pain medication. 


After surgery, health workers often recommend that you participate in physical activity and some sort of exercise. Amongst the numerous benefits of exercise is discomfort control. During the first stages of recovery from a mastectomy, you experience pain, some levels of nausea, and stiffness. It’s important to make sure that the exercise you consider trying immediately after your surgery is approved by your surgeon or nurse.

The exercise that are recommended to you may encourage a reduction in shoulder stiffness on the sides where you underwent your mastectomy – whether it be a unilateral (one breast) mastectomy or a bilateral mastectomy (both breasts). Exercising immediately after your surgery also help prevent extensive scar tissue formation.

Once you’re able to go home, and you’re continually in contact with your surgeon, you should receive updates on approved exercises throughout your recovery period. You may still experience arm and shoulder stiffness, so you should request for exercises to engage in to reduce the discomfort associated with this. 

Your surgeon or nurse should provide you with exercises as well as how exactly to go about doing them because doing exercises incorrectly may cause further discomfort.

Take Medicine For Itching

After your surgery you may experience itching or tingling in the area surrounding the breast incision. Itching causes redness and may lead to scratching. This may further affect the incision and negatively contribute toward your recovery. You can get rid of any itchiness caused by your mastectomy by taking allergy medicine, anti-histamines, or any anti-itch medicine. Doing this may encourage minimal discomfort because you won’t be continuously touching the affected area.

Take A Sponge Bath

Maintaining good cleanliness and hygiene is very important after you’ve undergone a mastectomy. Sponge baths are delicate on the skin and don’t promote much discomfort. They help keep the incision clean and reduce the risk of obtaining a skin infection. 

Sponge baths may also help with the development of rashes and reduce any dirt build up within your chest area. Sponge baths help you stay clean, particularly because doctors don’t encourage showering when one has any sutures or drains. 


You may be automatically drawn to wanting everything to go back to normal and return to your daily routine immediately. However, it’s important that you rest, whether you’re fatigued from your mastectomy or not. During the first few weeks, overworking yourself may put pressure on the area around the breast incision and make recovery a more painful experience.
Don’t take more than you can handle, and take your doctor’s advice against engaging in any activity that involves arm use or upper body strength. Contact your friends and relatives and request for help around the house to reduce the amount of discomfort you may experience. 

Obtain A Mastectomy Pillow

You’re very likely to experience certain levels of pain in the breast area, and this will result in discomfort in the chest area. A mastectomy pillow goes underneath your arms and rests over your breast area.

It helps protect your incision(s) and makes you feel less discomfort and insecurity when interacting with other people or hugging them. This is a great addition to your pillow collection and may contribute to your comfort and reduced pressure on the area that underwent surgery. 

Care For Your Surgical Drain And Dressing

Your surgeon and nurse are your first point of reference in terms of how to go about caring for your surgical drain. If you’re given a drain in your breast area, it may have to stay inserted for a few weeks. Through this, you have the responsibility of emptying the fluid within the drain bulb throughout the day. It’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions properly because surgical drains may vary.

Your doctor or nurse will also inform you how to manage the dressing that lies over your incision. You must be consistent in doing it. If not, see your doctor for bandage replacement or removal.

Healing Is A Journey

There are many ways to manage pain and discomfort after breast surgery. You can make use of apparatus like the post surgical bra or mastectomy pillow. You should exercise as advised. You can take medication. You should, of course, rest. Everyone heals differently, so your body may not recover as quickly. However, these tips may assist you in navigating through discomfort reduction after your mastectomy.