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Breast cancer and breast surgery

We have talked to

Univ. Prof. Dr. Florian Fitzal

Head Physician of Breast Surgery and General Surgery ward 21C

at the Vienna General Hospital

How can patients best prepare for the operation?

It is best to ask the surgeon if there are any special measures you can take, because every surgeon treats you a little differently.

In my case, I give the information that is needed during my pre-treatmen consultation.

As a rule, the ladies have to stay in hospital for 1-2 nights.

I recommend

Light, easy-to-wash clothing and comfortable slippers or sports shoes.

bring your own cushion to snuggle around at night. This gives support and a sense of security and is a psychological support for some women.

Smoking as little as possible, preferably not at all. This improves wound healing in smokers.

Reduce nervousness and stress, especially before the operation, by meditating and/or doing breathing exercises

that patients take sick leave one or two days before the operation in order to spend time with their family, or maybe just by themselves; especially ladies who are very busy with their job should make sure to give themselves and their body at least 2 days of time off before and especially after the operation.

I also need a suitable support bra (Orthoproban, Orthoben, Lipoelastic) in the operating theatre.

Ideally, patients should not make any special plans for a week after the operation. Also, travel should only be planned for after the wound has healed, about 10 days after the operation. After that, when the wound has healed without complications, all activities are possible again.

Important information: Even if the sentinel lymph node or several lymph nodes of the axilla have been removed, it is still possible to measure blood pressure or take a blood sample on the same arm. Patients only need to know that the healing rate of acquired infections is delayed. However, since infections after blood sampling are practically non-existent, I do not see a problem here.

Why do breast cancer patients sometimes have their entire breast removed (=mastectomy) and sometimes have breast-conserving surgery?

This depends solely on the breast/tumour ratio.

If the tumour is less than a quarter of the breast volume, breast preservation is safely possible; if the total resection volume exceeds a quarter of the breast, the decision depends on the breast size. For large breasts, an oncoplastic method can be used, where reduction techniques can cover the defect and the breast shape can be preserved.

If the total removal is mo

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