Post surgery advice


I am hoping that someone will have some knowledge of the post surgery experience. My mum had a lumpectomy today and she was down there for several hours. I thought it was supposed to take up to 40 minutes. After she eventually came out she was then in recovery for a few hours and is now waiting to she a doctor. She was in allot of pain so they gave her morphine.

Does anyone know what the policy is after the surgery before discharge? Do you need to see a doctor? My dad is there and apparently the nurse sounds a bit useless as she says she doesn’t know when the doctor will be available and she doesn’t know what the policy is… Can anyone please advise?

I am shocked that there is not a policy to define when you are ok to leave…


sorry to hear of your concerns.

it could be that you mum was delayed going into theatre if the op before took longer than expected… while they say the op takes about 40 mins the actual getting to theatre and getting put to sleep can take another 30 mins or so on top.

i worked in theatre where a lady was in for much longer than expected as one of the surgeons got called away mid op and the 2nd surgeon had to complete it on his own… sometimes these things happen.

this lady got a wee temp in recovery so was kept for a while longer and like your mum had been due back on the ward after a couple of hours.

i personally was in recovery for 3 hours instead of 30 mins as i took so long to wake up.

as for discharge its usually recommend she is reviewed by a doctor before going home… also if she was iin thetrae and recovery longer and is requiring morphine she may benefit from staying in over night.

she can self discharge but this isnt recommended as you dont know for sure she is physically well enough to go home.

there is no policy for when people are ok to leave as it depends on the individual patient but if they think she should be home they wont be long in sending you on your way… the paperwork, getting meds adn docs to sign off paperwork etc can take a while.

Lulu x

Joana so sorry to hear of your understandable worries. I don’t think there would be a policy as everyone recovers at different rates so 1 size does not fit all.
I would be surprised if a lumpectomy (WLE) took only 40 mins. Remember some of the time will be in the anaesthetic room being 'put under’I know I was ‘under’ for 2 1/2 hrs I had lymph node clearance too, but not sure about in recovery. Again it really depends on how individuals recover from the anaesthetic. It could also depend on other pre-existing health conditions too.The stay in hospital is also variable eg my surgeon had ladies who had drains in stay at least overnight.Some ladies on these threads have had a few days in hospital as that is the 'norm’at their hospital it really does vary.Surgeons also have their own ideas about how long one stays in too.Sorry if this all seems a bit woolly but only the staff at the hosp can help with this. Is your mum on a general surgical ward or a short stay surgical one?
I think the main thing is that she is offered pain relief at regular intervals.I would expect that she would be seen by a Dr before she can leave hospital. I do hope that she has as comfortable night as possible and that you can get some rest too.Wishing you all well. Jackie

Besides what Lulu said, they don’t like to let you go home until they are really sure you are fit. If you are the last one on the list, all the delays add up before you even get to surgery, as I know all too well.

Once it’s later in the day, I think they are more likely to want to keep you in overnight, rather than have someone come back in the small hours because of complications. The morphine may be another reason for keeping her in a bit longer. Some people are ill after an operation and again, hospitals want to make sure you are 100% ok before they send you home.

As you may guess, this has happened to me: there wasn’t anything wrong, but as my surgery was delayed, I wouldn’t have been ready to go home until quite late at night. They wanted to monitor me until it was clear that I was clearly ok.

I’m afraid when there are delays, the nurses don’t always get information about them.


Hi Joana,

I’m sure all hospitals would love a policy on when people had to be discharged but those darned patients have a habit of getting in the way!

Everyone is individual & react to things differently so nursing staff have to react accordingly.

We know you’re bound to be worried about your mum but I know my daughter was more settled knowing I was with the best possible people to help me if required. It’s only when your mum thinks she’s ready and they agree, that they’ll discharge her and at this time of night and what she’s been through, I’m sure an overnighter with observations is the very best place for her.

Best Wishes - Chris

Joana, please don’t work yourself up over this, however hard you try the worries do just gang up on you, don’t they.

I echo what the others said. When I had my first surgery I had to hand around for half an hour after they’d taken me from the ward before I even went into the anaesthetic room! I was also late on the list and with all the painkillers I had, I was far too zonked to be safe to let out, so I stayed where I was and slept it off in the hospital. I also had low blood pressure so felt dizzy when I sat up, so I simply wasn’t up for going home that evening. I came home the following day and just went straight to bed, and was up and about, even walked a mile or so to the hospital less than 48 hrs after surgery, and then back again, so just because she’s staying in doesn’t mean anything about how fast her recovery will be.

Your mum’s receiving lots of care, I’m sure, so you and your dad should be able to rest easily tonight, knowing that she will be very well looked after with people who can give her good strong pain relief if she needs it.

Another reason for the long time is that in some hospitals they are able to test nodes while you’re still under, and waiting for those results also takes time.

I hope that has helped ease your concerns, and you’re not being silly to be worried, you’re just being a very caring daughter.

Love and hugs,


Hello All,

Thanks very much for all your helpful advice.

I think I was panicking because I heard that most people leave the same day and no one was telling her if she would be kept in or should go home. Its nice to know what is happening but I guess they were busy and the nurse didn’t really know what to advise. You would think that after 10.00pm at night they would keep everyone in anyway as it is quite late. Feeling today like I was overeacting a bit last night but it is hard you know as I just want what is best for her.

She stayed overnight which I think was best as it was very late at night after a long day. We picked her up today and she said the good news is that her nodes are clear and she will get the other results next week.

Apparently she didn’t sleep a wink so is now resting which is good.

Thank you lovely ladies for your help. Wishing you well and a happy Thursday.


Joana, that’s fantastic news about the nodes, the best news she could have for that bit.

You weren’t over-reacting at all, you were understandably worried and concerned for your mum, and that’s lovely because you care. When I had my first surgery I did much the same as your mum did, and the first day back (day after surgery) I spent the day in bed sleeping or dozing, left to my own devices with occasional visits from OH offering food, drinks and painkillers. Can I suggest you get hold of a sports bottle to put her drink in, it’s easier to drink lying down and so much less effort than sitting up to drink.

Good luck to your mum for the results, and also good luck for keeping the lid on the anxiety while waiting. I’m afraid I completely fell to pieces in “the waiting room” so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there aren’t any delays for your mum’s results.

Joana was wondering how you had all fared.Good that your mum is now home and even better that there are NO nodes.No you weren’t over-reacting it was a very worrying and anxiety provoking time for you.
Hope your mum is able to rest and remember if she needs pain relief take some no brownie points for being stoic. Hopefully she is fairly comfortable.Wishing you all well for the results yet to come.Jackie

glad to hear the news about mums nodes.

hope she has a better night now shes home.

i think its only naturally to worry and even more so when the communication seems to be lacking.

hope you all have a more settled time now.