Facing a breast cancer diagnosis and the prospect of treatment isn’t easy. But what happens afterward? It’s common to experience many ups and downs — here are a few things to expect.

When you learn you have breast cancer, the prospect of a mastectomy can feel like the biggest hurdle ahead. And it’s true that surgery is never easy, especially when it involves losing some, all, or both of your breasts. However, the surgery itself is often the tip of the iceberg and marks the beginning of a very personal recovery process.

Dr. Laureen Forgione-Rubino has been in practice in Manchester, Connecticut, since 1993. She has unmatched skill with numerous surgical procedures, but she excels in robot-assisted surgery and single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), along with high-risk breast patient care.

If you have a mastectomy on the horizon, here’s what you should know about the days to come.

What to expect from a mastectomy

A mastectomy varies from person to person based on the type of cancer, its location, and the treatment strategy.


Some types of mastectomy remove all of your breast tissue, including the overlying skin, areola, and nipple, while others spare as much tissue as possible. You can also have a mastectomy that includes reconstruction at the same time. As a result, a mastectomy can take anywhere from 1-8 hours.

Depending on your procedure, you may be able to go home the same day, especially if you didn’t have any reconstructive measures taken or lymph nodes removed. Otherwise, you often can expect a hospital stay of 2-5 days so your team can monitor your recovery.

It usually takes several weeks to heal from a mastectomy and even longer when it includes reconstruction. Dr. Forgione-Rubino can offer personalized guidance on a case-by-case basis so you know what to expect regarding the surgical aspects of life after your mastectomy.

Life beyond your surgery

People usually expect there to be physical pain and discomfort after a mastectomy, but there are other challenges that may arise along the way.

A mastectomy often triggers emotional ups and downs that can last well beyond your postsurgical recovery. That’s because it can take time to adjust to your new body after these procedures, even when the bruising, swelling, and scars start to fade.

While everyone responds to a mastectomy differently, it’s common to experience a wide range of emotions during the first few months, such as:

  • Shock
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Fear

Your experience can also significantly impact your self-confidence. Breast surgery can affect your sexual feelings as well.

Life after your mastectomy may not be easy, but Dr. Forgione-Rubino offers strategies to help you cope during this challenging transition.

Moving on after your mastectomy

Dr. Forgione-Rubino works with you and your care team to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that provides the best outcomes — and it doesn’t stop with your mastectomy.


To start, Dr. Forgione-Rubino ensures you have a clear understanding of your treatment strategy so you know what to expect from the surgery itself. However, she also knows it can still be a shock, even when you know it’s coming.

As a result, Dr. Forgione-Rubino recommends taking these steps when preparing for life after your mastectomy:

  • Establish a support team
  • Talk to people who have had a similar experience
  • Recognize that you’ll have ups and downs
  • Embrace a healthier lifestyle, including diet and exercise, to help you feel your best

Finally, be patient — and don’t be afraid to ask for help. A mastectomy or any kind of breast surgery isn’t easy, but you aren’t alone. Having a skilled and compassionate medical team that includes Dr. Forgione-Rubino can help point you toward the resources you need to navigate your surgery and the days to come.

Do you need breast surgery? Schedule a consultation by calling Dr. Forgione-Rubino or requesting an appointment online today.

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