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My mastectomy surgery

Getting ready for surgery

When will the date and time of my mastectomy surgery be confirmed?

  • Your surgeon’s administrative assistant will give you a surgery date 1 to 2 weeks after you have signed the consent for surgery. Please call if you do not hear from us by then.
  • Please note that sometimes your surgery date may change.
  • Your surgeon’s administrative assistant will confirm your surgery date 1 to 2 weeks before surgery.
  • The Same Day Surgery Department will call you the day before your surgery between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to tell you what time you need to arrive at the hospital to register for your surgery. Please make sure the hospital has a phone number where you can be reached.
  • For a Monday surgery you will be called on Friday.
  • Your registration time could be as early as 6:00 a.m.
  • Please tell your surgeon’s office if you have a cold, fever or illness of any kind a few days before the surgery. Your operation date may need to be changed.

What you need to do to get ready for surgery


Take off all jewelry (including wedding bands) and all body piercing before you come to the hospital. If you cannot remove rings, they will be cut off prior to surgery.

Important reminderJewelry left on can cause harm including:

  • Burns from the equipment
  • Swelling and reduced circulation in fingers and toes
  • Choking or other injuries from mouth jewelry
  • Infections
  • Skin tearing near the jewelry
  • Risk of injury to the hospital staff

EXCEPTION: Medic-alert bracelets should be worn


  • Take off all make-up. Remove all nail polish from your fingers and toes.
  • Some surgical equipment does not work as well through nail polish.
  • Do NOT use perfume, cologne, scented cream, body lotion, deodorant or hair products on the day of your surgery. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a fragrance-free hospital.


  • You may shower and wash your hair on the morning of your surgery.
  • Do NOT shave your surgical area, such as your armpits.
  • Do NOT use body lotion, hair products, talcum powder, baby powder or deodorant on the day of your surgery.

Food and Drink

  • Do NOT eat any food after 12 midnight on the night before your surgery.
  • Do NOT drink milk, orange juice (or any juice with pulp), or alcohol after midnight.
  • You may drink up to 300 millilitres (1 glass) of clear fluids such as water, clear juices (apple juice, cranberry juice, or Gatorade) up until 2 hours before surgery.


  • Do NOT take any medications with acetylsalicylic acid or ASA (Aspirin); or blood thinners (Warfarin, Coumadin) 5 to 7 days before your surgery.
  • Do NOT take any herbal remedies or homeopathic medicines for 14 days before your surgery. They can cause bleeding problems during your surgery.
  • Bring the paper copy of this guide with you on the day of surgery so the nurses will know which medications you took.

Make notes in your paper copy of this guide:

  • Stop taking these medications before your surgery:
    • Name of medication: ___________
    • Date of last dose: ___________
  • Your doctor wants you to take these medications with a few sips of water in the morning before you leave for the hospital: ___________

If you have diabetes:

  • Do NOT take any insulin or oral diabetic medication on the day of surgery.
  • Check your blood sugar and if your sugar is low, drink a small glass of clear apple juice.
  • If you are going home on the same day as your surgery AND you take insulin, you will be seen by a nurse practitioner who specializes in diabetes before you leave the hospital. The nurse practitioner will tell you how to continue your medication once you are at home.


Smoking can affect your healing and make your chances of getting an infection after the surgery higher.

Important reminder

If you smoke:

  • Try to stop, or smoke less before your surgery.
  • Do NOT smoke any tobacco products or recreational drugs on the day of your surgery.
  • Speak to your doctor or nurse if you would like to quit smoking or you need help with withdrawal symptoms after your surgery.

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