Mastectomy Recovery: Week 4

Woman looks at her mastectomy recovery scars in the mirror


Week 1 |  Week 2 | Week 3 |  Week 4 |  Weeks 5-6 

A Glimpse of Myself

Pain- By this week, over the counter pain medications may still be needed intermittently, and that’s ok! Continue to listen to yourself and acknowledge triggering events. Maintain your pain medication log and consider other contributing factors for pain such as muscle tension or lack of mobility to the upper body and talk to your surgeon if unaddressed factors might be contributing to continued pain. 

Mobility- At week four the focus on mobility should be a priority in your day. Whether that means you are working through a stretching routine at home, following along with instructional videos, or sessions with a physical therapist. Movement and breaking down formed scar tissue this week is crucial to your long term mobility and your comfort. If drains are still present at this time, talk to your surgeon about how to incorporate movements despite the presence of drains. 

Hygiene- By week four, showering and washing is almost back to baseline. You still might not feel like you can scrub to the degree you would like, but a solid hair/body wash effort is being made. If your incisions are fully healed and there are no remaining areas of scabbing or delayed healing your surgeon may clear you for baths. This is something that would require clearance from your surgeon though, as submerging incisions without permission can have risky consequences.  

Sleep- Week four sleep continues to improve. Without the presence of extremely fragile incisions and bulky JP drains you allow yourself to sleep a little deeper and as a result you wake up feeling more and more rested. Maintain your prescribed sleeping position and continue to support with pillows as needed.  Daytime naps are likely not necessary any longer, but as always listen to what your body is telling you and respond accordingly. 

Energy- At this time energy levels are continuing to improve. You might feel like taking on some extra tasks, like running simple errands, baking some treats, or doing light activity in the yard. Start slow and ease back into these gentle tasks of your choosing. Going from minimal to maximum activity this week is not a good idea. Slow and steady wins the race in this scenario! Continue to be mindful of over committing/exerting in this stage. 

Activity- Light to moderate walking, stationary bicycle and elliptical, and light focused strength movements are all ok by week four. Working slowly back into your preferred method of activity is key to not taking steps backwards during this time of forward momentum.     

Fuel- It is still very important to maintain high levels of protein intake to support your body, as there is still hard work being done at the cellular level. If activity is increasing at this phase make sure you are maintaining good hydration with plenty of water or low sugar electrolyte drinks.  

Pro tip- Setting a hydration goal for yourself at the beginning of the day can help you to actively participate in mindful hydration. This water bottle provides a little extra motivation to help you reach your goals. 

Self Care- Drive to a beautiful walking path that you don’t often frequent and soak in a much needed change of scenery.  

Boundaries- Say yes to social time, as it is an important aspect of your mental health, but limit the number of social outings per week to your level of comfort. 


Click here to read about week 5-6

Week 1 |  Week 2 | Week 3 |  Week 4 |  Weeks 5-6  

Mastectomy Gifts

Mastectomy Recovery Gift Box

The Mastectomy Recovery Gift Box provides the most comprehensive and helpful collection of recovery products for anyone planning to undergo mastectomy surgery, with or without breast reconstruction.

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Mastectomy Gifts

Mastectomy Pillow

Our mastectomy recovery pillow is a gift designed to shield your loved on's sensitive surgical sites from pressure and reduce pain, particularly from seatbelts. Features soft cushioning and a handy pocket for essentials, aiding to return to daily activities and follow-up visits with ease.

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Mastectomy Gifts

Drain Holders

Help your loved ones manage surgical drains following a mastectomy with our adjustable drain holding belt, capable of securing up to four surgical drains along with a separate shower drain holder to use while bathing.

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