Discharge advice following Breast Surgery under local anaesthetic

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1266/2021
  • Departments: Breast Services
  • Last Updated: 15 December 2021


This leaflet has been produced to give you general discharge information following your breast surgery.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with the nurse caring for you on the ward or a member of the healthcare team

What is a local anaesthetic?

Local anaesthetic means that only the area which has been operated upon is numb and that you remain awake during the procedure. 

What if I have stitches and a dressing?

You may have stitches which do not need removing as they may dissolve. If you have stitches that need to be removed, you will be given an appointment to attend the Breast Unit Dressing Clinic. You will have a dressing to the wound area. This will be adhesive paper dressing strips with an adherent dressing over the top. This normally stays in place for 7-10 days and you need to avoid getting it wet. You will be able to remove your dressing 7-10 days post-surgery and if everything is healed you can wash and bathe as normal..

Will I need pain relief after a local anaesthetic?

When the local anaesthetic wears off, you may feel some soreness or discomfort. It is advisable to have a supply of mild pain relief medication at home such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, which should be used as directed on the packet if you have any pain.

What symptoms should I look out for?

Swelling in the wound area is a common symptom following surgery and may affect your breast area or armpit. Sometimes a fluid collection called a Seroma may develop after the drain has been removed. This is normal and nothing to worry about; if you will need to contact the Breast Care Unit if you develop any of the following or have any concerns:

  • The swelling is causing you a lot of discomfort.
  • The area looks red or feels hot to touch.
  • You have a sensation of fluid moving behind your wound.
  • There is a lot of leakage through the dressing.
  • Some patients are sensitive to the dressing and this may cause skin irritation
  • (the skin may itch and feel sore). In this case the dressing may need to be replaced. 

What follow up care will I need?

You will be advised to rest after your surgery and avoid any heavy lifting or carrying for the first 7 – 10 days. After this you can resume normal activities. A sick note will be provided prior to discharge if required. You may receive a follow up appointment to see your surgeon. This will normally be in 3 – 6 months and you will receive the appointment through the post. 

Results of your breast surgery

You will be advised of your results 4 – 5 weeks post your surgery. This may be a face to face appointment with your surgeon or you may receive a letter detailing your results. 

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Breast care Unit (01482) 622679. Outside office hours (evenings and weekends) please contact 111 or doctor out of hours

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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