More mastectomy patients sent home to recover same day of surgery

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Genene McPhetridge went home the same day she had a mastectomy on June 26th. She said it was a more relaxing way to recover.

"I think it's great because you get to sleep. You don't have nurses coming in taking your vitals every hour, and you're in your own environment," McPhetridge said.

Kaiser Permanente introduced the new program in 2017 after surveying mastectomy patients in 21 northern California medical centers.

Most of them used to stay overnight, but a new focus on patient comfort has turned the surgery into an out-patient procedure in Fresno.

"Last year 74% of our patients went home the same day after their mastectomy or removal of their breast tissue. This year to date, the number has increased to 92%," said Dr. Wendy G. Morales.

Dr. Morales said that before patients go home, they are educated in managing their drains, as well as their pain, and doctors are still able to answer questions.

"I knew one phone call and could get a hold of the surgeon," McPhetridge said.

She welcomed the chance to go home after her procedure because she had family around to help her heal.

"When you are going through an anticipated surgery, and you are fully prepped, it's better for you to be at home. The hospital is full of germs," said cancer care coordinator, Carmen Arambula.

"They recover faster. They are back to their regular activities faster as well," said Dr. Morales.

Some patients were surprised they could go home the same day they had a mastectomy, but Genene McPhetridge supports the change.

"I think it's the best way to do it, yeah. I think the less time in the hospital, the better," she said.

Kaiser said the study showed home recovery was a safe option for most of their mastectomy patients.
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