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mastectomy recovery products

mastectomy recovery products

Posted by shelby on Jun 13, 2020 1:26 am

What product(s) will the hospital send me home with following surgery?  What products do I need to buy and where can I find them?  Thanks, Shelby

Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by Wendy Tea on Jun 13, 2020 10:20 am

shelby‍  During non covid-19 times,  the medical team has lots of meetings and chats with you. I was shown how to use a drain and it was safety-pinned to my top. For the time I needed it I was mostly at home recovering. I wore loose tops for comfort.  I was sent home with extra bandages but didn't need to use any. They give you a sheet to record the drain output. Having a thermometer is useful. When the drain was removed it is kept by the hospital staff. Let me know if you have other questions. 

Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by Kims1961 on Jun 13, 2020 10:48 am

shelby‍  Great question!!

Before my bilateral surgery, i wondered the same.  I found some tips on the american breastcancer.org site - that was helpful - albeit - it is from the viewpoint of the American Medical system.

Here is a some ideas.

I was worried i had to purchase a number of items, but in reality, i could compromise with things i had at home.  I found having a small pillow key to rest my arm on at night and during the ride home so helpful!

I used a big oversized flannel shirt with pockets - to keep my drains in.  I did have my surgery in the fall, so my focus was on cozy shirts. I also used a nylon belt around my waist to pin the drains to.

I had a nurse that came to the house after surgery, to remove the drains and check the incision.  She brought all of the "medical" supplies  , so worth asking how your drains will be removed from your medical team.

When is your mastectomy?  Wishing you healing energies!!



I just got home from the hospital a couple of hours ago (SNB + left-side mastectomy w/o recon).  I, too, had seen lots of helpful suggestions on this board.  Here's my experience (so far), FWIW:

Some hospitals provide camis and/or surgery bras to their patients. Mine provided 1 safety pin and a measuring cup, plus some opened packages of sterile gauze bandage material they'd used on me.

My onco surgeon's secretary told me to bring a sports bra to wear home.  There is NO WAY I could wear a sports bra, or any other bra, right now.  The site is sore and a bit swollen, and my skin is very sensitive from tape (see below).  A soft flannel shirt is just right.

I took books, magazines, everything except my ipod; but I didn't use any of them.  My dh did a lot of reading while he waited for me during & after surgery, but I was too woozy-headed and just wanted to nap.

My meds were simple:  I had 3 meds I was taking regularly, and they gave me those while in the hospital.  In addition, they gave me Percoset for pain, Cholase for constipation, and Prilosec.  At discharge, they gave me a prescription for the Percoset and Cholase.  Since Percoset is an opiate, I doubt they'd have given it to me ahead of time.  My dh filled the script as we drove home.

My biggest problem right now is skin damage from the bandaging tape.  My skin is thin and sensitive to adhesives, so I have big red blotches everywhere the pressure bandage was taped.  On my chest I have a nickel-sized erosion that feels like a burn, where my skin ws actually pulled off with the tape.  Another bandage placed over that erosion produced more soreness from tape.  I've decided to go tapeless, where possible; and use only the softest cloth tape if taping is necessary.

The nurses made sure I knew how to empty and measure the drain fluid, "recharge" the drains, and strip the tubing.  They had me show them I could do it before I left.  No big deal so far.

The drains themselves are a problem, of course.  This morning I noticed a firm cord running across my chest from my shoulder almost to my sternum.  It hurt like heck.  When I asked the docs what it was, they said it was one of my drains.  They said normally that drain is not so visible because there's more fat over it.  On me, it looks like a tendon that wasn't there before.

Oh, and the small, soft pillow was essential for the drive home.  It kept the shoulder harness off my chest.


Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by Buffythevampire on Jun 13, 2020 11:13 am

shelby‍ I am not sure if you will be given the same things that I was but I will tell you what was useful for me. A heart shaped pillow that goes in your armpit (I have 3 that I still use sometimes) they help if you get lymph nodes removed. A rectangle pillow with velcro closure straps that you put on a seat belt in the car. A front closure bra that has wide sides with no underwire. Button front tops and pj's. I made a crossbody small bag to hold the surgical drain but you can also use a lanyard or a safety pin (I had a diaper pin). I have also heard that a fanny pack that you wear around your waist will work too. You will probably get a list of arm exercises but you can probably find it on here too. If I found clothes, bras, etc rubbing I would use a sanitary napkin as a buffer and you can also use them to absorb the blood from the incision area also. When I woke from my mastectomy/expander surgery I was wearing a compression bra that looks like a smocked tube top. If I needed to clean the incision area I was told to use peroxide as it won't sting.
Hope that helps. 
Attached files

Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by AliceM on Jun 14, 2020 9:48 am

When I went for my first visit to the cancer clinic I was given a welcome package that had brochures in it and information about resources in my area. They gave me a U shaped pillow made and donated by volunteers  In the packet was info for a local business selling mastectomy supplies. It offered a free post surgery camisole that had pockets for the drains so I got one of those and also purchased another regular mastectomy camisole. I was sent home from surgery with an Rx for T3, a recommendation to also get colace, a referral for followup nursing and drain care and my chest was wrapped in a compression bandage. Make sure you also have button up jammies and tops for after (mine are all tacky Walmart ones thanks to covid but who cares eh?) The underarm pillow, compression wrap and camisole I used all the time once home. I am 3 weeks post surgery and still regularly use the compression wrap and I find the pillow provides a much more comfortable sleep. Hope that helps. May your surgery and recovery go very well!!

Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by Lyne on Jun 14, 2020 11:04 am

Good morning,
shelby‍ , I am not sure where you are from but in my area there is a store that offers free items for post mastectomy.  The Camisole Project is a free program that they support, they offer you a camisole that is comfortable and has pocket for the drains, there's also a small pillow.  I also found that the knitted knockers helped me deal with my new figure, as it gave me something to put in the bra of the camisole so I had breasts.  The store I think of is located in Burlington, Ontario and is called BodyMed.  I'm sure there are others out there.

The paper tape they use all over the hospital is a problem for me, I am allergic to the adhesive and broke out in blisters that scar my skin.  After the surgery, they used the transparent tape that some hospitals use to hold IVs in place.  Between that and a dressing called ALLEVYN I was able to avoid getting blisters.

Good luck!


Re: mastectomy recovery products

Posted by Hezz on Jun 14, 2020 11:47 am

Hi shelby‍ ...
I'm in Calgary, AB and I had a double mastectomy in April.
I made sure to have lots of supplies prepared, which was good, as nothing was sent home with me from the hospital except a measuring cup and a sheet to record my drain output. It was crazy COVID time though, and my surgery was changed to a different hospital at the last minute and also changed to day surgery instead of 2-3 days in hospital as had been originally planned.
  • I bought a camisole with pockets for the drains. It was PRICELESS!!! My most highly recommended item. It was the long one on webpage and cost about $100. Because it was a lot like a tank top, I often just wore it on it's own. It also came with fake-boob inserts that I wore to help with my confidence in my new shape. https://compassionatebeauty.com/pages/mastectomy-post-surgery
  • I also had a couple of front-zip hoodies and flannel shirts. I mostly used hoodies. You don't need many, you will be raising your arms before you know it!
  • A belt or tensor wrap was needed for clipping my drains to when showering. I used the belt from a bathrobe.
  • As hysterical as this sounds, I used the cling wrap stuff that movers use (to wrap around dressers when you move so the drawers don't come out) to wrap my chest for showering. I was VERY EXCITED to shower as soon as possible. With lymphnode removal I couldn't wear deodorant and my stench really bothered me!
  • You will want to have a couple safety pins.
  • I set up a "station" for emptying my drains. A towel to cover the table, anticeptic wipes, the measuring cup, the tally sheet and a pen.
  • Make sure you have a special pillow or a couple sizes of pillows to help get comfy.
  • For medicine, you will get a prescription for a pain med when you are leaving. I also had bought some restore-a-lax to have on hand.
  • I recommend watching a video on emptying drains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNCay6pkYb0
  • I also highly recommend watching the video on your first set of exercises. I started mine on day 2. If you have reconstruction, you will not be able to do these until your doctor says. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Aag71aVoxk
I hope that helps!
Hezz :)