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It is generally your decision whether to return home the day of surgery. The majority of patients who have breast cancer surgery without reconstruction at Johns Hopkins feel so physically well after surgery that they choose to go home that same day. If you do, you will receive oral medications to control your pain and nausea.
Women having lumpectomy surgery may be ready to go home after being in the recovery room for one to two hours. Many patients feel well enough to go out to lunch or dinner that evening to celebrate completing the treatment. This is a testament that they are nausea-free and ready to embrace life again. Any time you can avoid hospitalization, risk of infection is reduced and faster healing is possible. You can also return to normal daily activities sooner.
Your length of post-operative hospital stay depends on the extent of the breast surgery and if reconstruction is performed concurrently. On the average, most mastectomy patients are released in 2-3 days without post-operative complications. Reconstruction with tissue transfer or free flaps (microvascular surgery), may require a week or longer as in in-patient status to monitor the flap.
You will be encouraged to get out of bed and start moving around as soon as possible after your surgery. The amount of time you are in the hospital depends on the type of surgery you had. After a lumpectomy or other breast- conserving surgery, you may go home the same day, or at most your hospital stay will be one or two days. Women who have mastectomies or have all their lymph nodes removed stay in the hospital for one to three days. If you choose to have reconstructive breast surgery now, especially a flap procedure, this will also increase your time in the hospital.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.