Mastectomy as day surgery

I’ll be having a single mastectomy in the next 3 weeks with no immediate reconstruction (my choice). My surgeon has told me that such operations are usually performed as day cases in our local hospital. While I have no desire to stay in hospital longer than necessary, I am rather anxious about coming home so soon. I’ve never been in hospital before or had any surgery at all so everything seems rather terrifying. Has anyone any experience of short stays in hospital that they would be willing to share?
Thanks from a first-time forum user!


Firstly welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, I’m sure you will find them to be a great source of support and information.

Whilst you wait for the other users to reply with their advice and experiences it might be helpful for you to look at the BCC booklet ‘Your operation and recovery’. It provides information for anyone going into hospital for breast cancer surgery and covers what to expect before your admission, during your stay and when you have returned home. If you would like to order a copy or read this on line just use this link:-

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

i had mx back in november i was in one night and went home with drain in. Like you i didnt know what to expect but i did cope with it not too much pain either.
Id ask for an overnight stay i had to ask as they wanted it as day surgery.

jenny xx

i wish you well with your operation. I had similar but had a night in hospital because was in an afternoon slot. I was glad to be home. I had to stay a fewer more hours because blood pressure was a bit low. I only just made it it the loo bad back to bed before needing a rest. Plenty of drinks and a couple of hours later I was okay. Nurses were fine when I said I could not go home and suggested waiting a few more hours.
(Also I had no sleep due to other patients in ward, a very good reason to go home)
If you do not feel up to going home just say to the nurses and stay in. Do drink plenty of fluid afterwards. Make sure you have plenty of help at home. Do make sure you know emergency numbers to call, my ward operated an emergency telephone, so if I had a problem I went to them.
i had never been in hospital before and as soon as I said this I was treated very kindly and had all the basics explained.
wishing you well and speedy recovery.

It does seem the policy now for doing Mx surgery as day cases. I think there has been a study and it is felt more beneficial to the patient to go home the same day and to be honest I agree, there is nothing worse than having to stay in hospital if you don’t really need to. My hospital did the same and sent me home same day with a drain - I did have an outreach nurse visit me every day for 5 days before the drain came out. I did feel a bit groggy but there’s nothing better than your own bed and as long as your blood pressure is ok and there are no complications then I think its a good thing. But like everyone says if you don’t feel up to going home then say so and as you have been allocated a bed anyhow its no big deal for them at all.

I almost had my mx and immediate recon (strattice mesh + implant) as a day-case. The only reasons I didn’t was that I was having the surgery late afternoon (I didn’t get back onto the ward until gone 7) and that I have a young child and my BCN said it was better for her not to see me look so groggy. As it was, I was home before lunch the next day (with a drain in). I then went back to the hospital a couple of times to have the drain checked before having it taken out. A district nurse was mentioned but they ended up having me go in to clinic.
If you are not well enough to go home, then you will stay in a night, but having the option to go home quite quickly would be good. Check with the BCN that you can stay in if need be.
Good luck with the surgery.

I thought I would have been a day surgery case… I had a WLE and SNB done… I ended up staying in overnight… no reason given really… I think they say day case but if surgery is later in the day you will probably stay overnight hun… all the very best x

I had mastectomy and all the lymph nodes removed, my op was late afternoon and I only got out of theatre about 6:30 pm so would not have been able to go home that night. The hospital tried to send me home the next day but I asked to stay in an extra night because I was vomiting so much I could not even keep water down and was too wobbly to walk to the loo on my own. They think this was from the morphine - as soon as I switched to paracetamol the vomiting stopped. Most people aren’t affected like this from the morphine though, think I was just unlucky as other ladies have been sitting up eating and drinking normally a few hours after their ops. Also I had chemo before, rather than after, surgery so took a bit longer to recover than people who have it the other way round.
The pain was not nearly as bad as I was expecting - manageable with ordinary paracetamol and ibuprofen. I only had one drain and they took it out the day I left hospital, so I did not need nurse visits at home.
Good luck with your op
Squeakymouse xx

My story is pretty similar. Had mx and snb late afternoon and just spent one night in and went home next day with drain. That was removed five days later by a lovely district nurse. Luckily I had no pain, apart from soreness where drain was. Good luck for your op.

Thank you all very much for your help & reassurance - now I’ve just got to try and cope with the panic that comes in waves…
Your support is appreciated x

Am recovering at home after a mastectomy last Monday. Arrived at 8am and was first on the list so by 4pm I was ready to go home and was home by 6pm. So it depends where you are on the list i think. Was glad to be home and have had nurses coming in to change the drain and check the dressing, all is well and only need paracetamol occasionally for where the drain is. Am happy to be recovering at home, need to crash out every now and then. I wish you well. Understand the panic, the waiting is the worst, but hope you can get some courage from our posts.
Maggie May

I had single mastectomy and node clearance without reconstruction and stayed in for 6 days as I did not want to go home with drains in. I had no experience of surgery or having drains in and felt very uncomforatable at having to deal with such things at home. The hospital gave me the option of going home with a drain in and had no problem whatsoever with keeping me in when expressed that preference. I had an individual room throughout which helped a lot with recuperation and any concerns about infections - it’s the policy at that particular hospital for all mastectomy patients to have an individual room if at all possible.

Don’t let them shift you out early if you’d rather stay in hospital. All the very best

PWC, my situation was exactly the same as yours, I stayed in 5 nights after my mx. Sounds like it varies depending on where you live, but I also wasnt in a rush to get home and wanted to stay in until my drain came out. WAC, I would totally agree that you should say if you dont feel comfortable going home.
Maggie May, hello to you, I remember you from the March thread last year. I hope you are recovering well from your mx and hope things go well for you into the future.
Best wishes ladies
Joan xxx

I asked if I could stay in another night at least, as wasn’t happy because of drain. I was told no, I had been discharged. Was shown how to empty drain so had to do it myself until it came out 5 days later. Is this normal procedure in some hospitals? My hospital has a patient hotel, so could have stayed in, but didn’t get the opportunity. Hope this doesn’t worry anyone, just feel a bit miffed about it.

I had to stay in for 5 days for my mastectomy surgery but had my own room which was great. My husband was ill at the time, we have two children and family that lived 350 miles away so it was better for me to remain in hospital for as long as possible. Also, I was uncomfortable with the drains, was anaemic, and had been sick post anaesthetic.
The important thing is whether you have sufficient support at home once you leave the hospital - i.e. family and friends to support you in the first few days post surgery. Also, my surgeon says that you should balance the number of days in hospital to recuperate against the risk of infection which is greater, the longer you remain in hospital.
Please don’t feel bullied into doing anything you don’t want to do.
best of luck with the operation


I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction/ tissue expander on Tuesday and was home on Wednesday afternoon.

I don’t think this is the norm but I recovered quite quickly, had someone at home and also was prepared to take my drains home. The nurses were happy for me to stay a bit longer but I couldn’t sleep on the ward and decided to go.

How long you’ll be in depends on many factors but to echo other posters don’t feel pressurised to go too early.

Best of luck