Discharge Instructions for Lumpectomy or Breast Biopsy

Discharge Instructions for Lumpectomy or Breast Biopsy

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Discharge Instructions for Lumpectomy or Breast Biopsy

You just had a procedure to remove a lump or a sample of tissue from your breast. After surgery, be sure to have an adult drive you home and to follow the guidelines on this sheet. Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your health care provider.

What to expect

The following are common after a lumpectomy or breast biopsy: 

  • Bruising and mild swelling around the incision

  • Mild discomfort for a few days.

  • Feeling tired for a day or so.

  • Feeling anxious or down.


  • Start with liquids and light, easy-to-digest foods such as bananas and dry toast. As you feel up to it, slowly return to your normal diet.

  • Drink at least 6 to 8  glasses of water or other nonalcoholic fluids a day, unless directed otherwise.


  • After the procedure, take it easy for the rest of the day.

  • If you had general anesthesia, don't use machinery or power tools, drink alcohol, or make any major decisions for at least the first  24  hours.

  • Return to normal activities (including driving) in 24 hours.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Vomiting or nausea that does not go away

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C) or chills

  • Foul-smelling discharge from the incision

  • Pain not relieved by pain medications

  • Bleeding, warmth, redness, or hard swelling around the incision

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

Bandage and incision care

  • Take pain medications as directed. Don’t wait until the pain gets bad before taking them. Don’t drink alcohol while on pain medications.

  • Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin cloth. Place this over the bandaged incision for no longer than 20  minutes at a time. Do this as needed.

  • Wear a comfortable, snug-fitting bra at all times, even to bed, to help keep swelling down.

  • If your incision has been closed with glue, do not apply lotion, ointments, or creams to the area. Doing so can cause the glue to dissolve.

  • If strips of tape have been used to close your incision, do not pull them off. Let them fall off on their own.

  • If you have a gauze bandage, keep it and the wound dry for 48 hours.If the gauze bandage gets wet, replace it with a clean, dry bandage.