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Surgery 101

Comfort Tips Post Surgery

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If you have an incision in your upper body, when you cough, you may feel that your incision is going to break apart. A time tested tip is to use a pillow for support when you cough. 

  • If your incision is in the front, hold the pillow against your chest. Fold your arms across the pillow. Then cough.
  • If your incision is on your side, hold the pillow under your arm. Press the pillow against your side. Cough.
  • If your incision is on your back, lean against the pillow. Then cough.


  • If you are feeling more than discomfort in or near your incision, let your doctor know. There may be an infection or you may not be receiving enough pain medication. (For information about pain, see the Survivorship A to Z document about pain which includes information about medications).
  • Once the bandage is removed, consider applying a cream that will keep the incision site moist and help reduce the size of the scar. Speak with your local pharmacist.
  • Wear soft, loose clothing over the incision.
  • Women: if your incision is irritated by your bra, speak with an expert who works with bras for women with mastectomies. Many department stores and some pharmacies provide this service free of charge.

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