How long does it take to recover from breast cancer surgery?

Recovery from breast cancer surgery varies from procedure to procedure. Learn about the varying recovery times from Virginia Chiantella, MD, from StoneSprings Hospital Center. 
Recovery from breast surgery, like most surgeries, depends on the patient. Elizabeth Feldman, MD from Reston Hospital Center discusses the average time for recovery following breast cancer surgery.
It varies depending on which operation you choose. Some women who choose breast-conserving treatment will be nearly back to normal in as quick as one to two days. If you choose a total mastectomy, and you have to have all of your lymph nodes removed, the recovery time can be longer. It can take anywhere from two to three, sometimes even four weeks.

Breast reconstruction with a tissue flap takes the longest to recover from: not only does the breast site have to heal, but also the donor site where the flap came from.
Elisa R. Port, MD
Surgical Oncology
Recovery times can vary after breast cancer surgery. In this video I explain what can affect how long it takes to recover from surgery.
It depends on the type of breast cancer surgery you had. If you had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy alone, it could be one to two weeks for recovery. If you had a mastectomy with reconstruction, recovery could take four to eight weeks, depending on the type of reconstruction.

Continue Learning about Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Several types of cancer can form in the breast, making it the second most common cancer that affects American women. Breast cancer affects over 200,000 women each year. The cancer develops when abnormal cells crowd out healthy one...

s, potentially causing a lump in the breast or a bloody discharge from the nipples.
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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.