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Next question - on waking

EastmumEastmum SydneyMember Posts: 495
edited March 2018 in General discussion
Hi again - still gathering info before my DMX (@kmakm - this might help you too!) and my next question is - what were you wrapped in when you woke up from surgery? I know each surgeon has their own technique so I need to ask mine this question, but I'm keen to hear others' experiences to find out what the possibilities are.
Will I be in bandages? or a support bra? Is there one drain on each side or more than one? Do they normally give you a urinary catheter? I'm having vertical incisions and my nipples are going too, but will be having skin sparing and straight into air expanders. If I end up having an axillary clearance on either side, will that have consequences for how they bandage me up?
So grateful for everyone's help during this dash through the unknown! 


  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,288
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,942
    [email protected], are you in the Breast Reconstruction group? There's some photos there I think of people immediately post-surgery. Plus I've found the women there are experts!

    I'm having a DIEP/TRAM and my PS said I'll have a catheter. I'll be exposed as they have to monitor the blood flow to the flap, every 30 minutes to start with.
  • EastmumEastmum SydneyMember Posts: 495
    Yep @kmakm I sure am - some great info there! I was thinking those are all ‘unwrapped’ pics - unless there are no bandages usually? I’ll go back and have another look through. Guess I’m just the kind of person that likes to have as much info as possible. Thanks! 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,052
    It's possible you will be catheterised during surgery but it will usually be gone by the time you get back to the ward.

    Two drains per side seems to be the norm for mastectomy, one high and one low. That does depend on the surgeon.

    As for bandages and wraps, I was very surprised to peer  down the front of my gown and only see a couple of bits of tape after 2MX (nipple sparing)and expander recons. I gather they are more likely to bandage now than they used to. All this stuff changes, wounds kept dry, wounds kept moist...hard to keep up.
    As them, they all do things differently. Marg x
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,400
    edited March 2018
    I had 2 drains each side and just some hyperfix stretchy tape on my wounds. My surgeon liked us to wear a post op bra immediately and has specialist  fitter visit 1st thing next day to fit. His preference was an erilan amoena post op bra. No clips on your back. A Target post op bra is pretty good too. 

    Also no catheter for me . 

    I only  had sentinal node biopsies so no visible scar from the clearance all done under the skin. 
  • EastmumEastmum SydneyMember Posts: 495
    Thanks @Zoffiel and @primek - that’s great info especially about the drains. I thought there would only be one on each side. Good to know! 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,400

    Lots of colour choices. But this was tbe tpe my surgeon preferred as it's not too tight. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,400
    Have you got drain bags given to you yet?
  • EastmumEastmum SydneyMember Posts: 495
    Hi @primek - thanks those bras look great! No I haven’t got any drain bags yet. Do they give those to you in hospital? Should I make contact with the Breast care nurse before my surgery? 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,400
    edited March 2018
    I'd give the breast care nurse a ring. I was given 2 zonta pillows and drain bags at time of surgery planning. Oh...actually they forgot the bags but the bc nurse whipped down to car and got them for me the next  day when she visited.  Makes mobilising a lot easier. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,942
    How do you go with bra sizing? Do you stick with your normal ribcage measurement, or go up or down a size? My cup size is going to be a mystery box due to pre-existing abdominal complications. I think I'll be online shopping in hospital...
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,711
    They may have someone who comes around to fit you. That's what happened for me - same business that came up on Friday.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,400
    @kmakm Yea bra size  is a dilema. Mine I took in were too small. So the fitting after was better. I'd buy your normal size ...not too many, and go from there. 
  • nikkidnikkid Member Posts: 1,698
    edited March 2018
    Hey @Eastmum - I woke to a tubular bandage over my chest down to my hips, covering the dressings over the wound. The bandage was doubled over for extra compression. I had 2 drains in - one around the top of the breast and one around the bottom. I kept the tubular bandage on (hospital gave me extra) until a week after the mastectomy (I also had a left vertical skin sparing w insertion of aero form expander, as I think I’ve told you before). Then, when I went to see the plastics nurse to review the dressings and healing (and this is when she took out the drains), she fitted me for a post op bra (the Berlei one). Later on, after my DIEP, she fitted me with this really comfy crop top bra - but for the mastectomy it was all about compression. (There’s a pic of me in my tubular bandage after my DIEP in my photostory in the Breast Recon Group.) 

    The drains were already in a drain bag (pink tartan!!!) hanging off the side of my bed. I had 2 Zonta pillows - one sent to me from my breastcare nurse, the other by a friend. I used them when lying in the bed under my armpit or arm, or even at the back of my neck (your upper back - thoracic spine - can be quite sore as the expander is placed under your pec muscle, over the scullery nerve and against the chest wall....so a lot of your back muscles get pulled around). 

    No catheter (I did have catheter for 24 hours after the DIEP) - and I was up going to the toilet just a few hours after recovery. X
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,313

    Hopefully your curiosity has been satisfied. The questions you've posed were the furthest thing from my mind when I was due to go into surgery. 
    Try not to overthink everything and try to go into surgery in a settled state of mind.
    Take care 
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