things to take for day surgery?

Hi, does anyone have any advice for what to take to hospital or get ready for afterwards? I have a lumpectomy & sentinel node removal next weds. and as I have to lock down for 14 days before and 14 after I want to make sure we’ve ordered what I might need.

Thank you  :black_heart:

Hi Jo

You actually need to take very little as it’s a day case!

Wear loose front-opening tops. You won’t be happy having to lift that arm and breast into a t-shirt or sweater when it’s time to get dressed! It’s hard to predict the weather so the ward may be too warm or too cold - provide for both, especially cosy socks and something like a cosy cardigan to wrap round you if it’s cold while you’re kept in bed. You can then wear it round your shoulders when you leave.

Most of the stuff I took was unused (puzzle book, newspaper, novel) but think about things that make you feel good - I took essential oil to sniff occasionally and Rescue Remedy for reassurance. You’ll be too dopey to read after but a book/kindle does help In the waiting time prior to surgery. Small mints are good if you have a nasty taste in your mouth or you are dry-mouthed afterwards, or the Ricola sweets you can buy from pharmacies.

Basically, you won’t be there long enough to miss anything. If you were staying overnight it would be different but your time is mostly accounted for and, after surgery, you will be groggy and, when that has lifted, be discharged into someone’s care so there is no need for much. Maybe others will suggest extra things.

I’d leave your handbag at home, with your purse/wallet, and only take your phone if you really must take that selfie or text people. Similarly, leave all your jewellery at home as it has to be removed for surgery.

For the recovery period, get in both paracetamol and ibuprofen in case you get pain. You’ll be advised to take paracetamol anyway but, if your pain is severe, you can alternate them every 2-3 hours for greater effect. However, check with your breast care team to be on the safe side. Don’t assume it will be very painful. I didn’t use any pain relief at all and I’m no Amazon.

You’ll need to drink plenty of fluids so make sure you have a range of things available. It’s hard to know how you’ll react to a general anaesthetic but err on the safe side and make up or buy in some soups till your appetite returns.  Make sure you have front opening pjs (George at Asda do some very good pjs, front buttoning, light and stretchy); and front-opening loose tops (I nicked a couple of my husband’s old, soft shirts). As you are having the SN removed, you may have a drain for several days. This came as a shock to me and was a great diversion from any misery as I worked out ways of getting the damn thing round with me. Eventually I devised a papoose from a scarf! Some hospitals provide a carry-bag.

Afterthought: in case of an allergic reaction to the dressings, have a good antihistamine in the house!! Yes, I did :slightly_smiling_face:  

I hope it all goes smoothly for you. Make sure you do those exercises!


Hi Jo, I had my Lumpectomy and full node clearance three years ago so I’ll just tell you what I felt was useful. I made sure my clothes were easy on and off. Elastic trousers, and button down shirt as you can’t lift your arm,  Easy pull on soft but supportive bra. I went to Asda and bought 3 crop top things. Some hospitals give you one, mine didn’t. I stocked up on pjs, again with buttons. Supermarkets were ideal for cheap and cheerful, after all, you’re going to spend time in bed so need to feel fresh with lots changes. I took a long handled small cotton bag to put my drain in. Some hospitals give you one, mine didn’t. Slip on shoes/ trainers. No bending down because anaesthetic might have you but woozy. I was fine. Phone to get husband to pick me up, earphones for music, small notebook for info and pen to write with. Magazine and word puzzle book for waiting time’s.Hair brush and lippy  completed my goody bag. Leave valuables at home.

A nurse came to check my drain every day. it drained well and was removed on day 4. I bought a v shaped pillow to prop me up in bed and stop me moving, and placed a chair next to me on which I dangled my bag . You DO not want to pull it! One of my friends sent me a goody box containing fragrance and chemical free soap and gels, also baby wash, plus muslin cloths to ‘wash’ or dab at arm pit. It will be numb as the nerves get cut so you will need a mirror to look in to dab/ wash it. One thing you really must do is the exercises the hospital will give you. Do them as often as you can otherwise you could get cording . My arm got pretty tight and I used massage oil ( check with BC nurse) and hot showers to stretch it out. I found it far far less traumatic than I envisaged. The drain is a nuisance, and a couple of stitches unravelled but all very very easy and uncomplicated. I was 70 at the time and a bit of a wuss! I did warn my BC nurse I didn’t tolerate anaesthetic and a special mix was made for me. I was given questionnaire to complete by my hospital which was adhered to pretty much. Questions on fears, hopes, anticipation, lifestyle etc. I also went into health mode big time so my body healed very quickly and I was very fit and well before my op. I checked about supplements and took Vit c and iron.Hope all goes well. Best wishes. :four_leaf_clover: :bouquet:


One thing to add…a sick bag for the way home.  If you’re like me you may have a slightly adverse reaction to the general anaesthetic…the boyfriend’s car still smells even though it was over 3 months ago…nice!


Hi Jo22 

I had my lumpectomy in May, some things I found useful:

  1. Like a previous post paracetamol and ibrufon in (check with hospital how much you can take). I needed both. All manageable but good to have them too hand.

  2. Front fastening non wired bras. You don’t want to be swivelling a bra round on your scar. Can order on line - George at Asda were cheapest and most comfy.

  3. Bin liners and micro-pore tape. I was taping a cut down bin liner to me to keep the dressings from getting wet. (I didn’t have a drain but some extra padding / tape thing). Others may have better suggestions on keeping things dry but this worked for me.

  4. Front fastening PJs and tops. I needed loose buttoned tops for the first couple of weeks. Like others have said men’s shirts are ideal.

  5. Pen and notepad - to write down what pharmacist etc tells you 

  6. mobile - although a little snoozy after surgery I was perfectly okay and texting people to let them know I was okay 

  7. I did some cooking before hand to make sure we had plenty of meals in the freezer that we could go to whilst I was recovering.

hope this helps. Good luck with the surgery x