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How do you Wash Hair after a Double Mastectomy?

Christene502 Member Posts: 47

Having BMX. I heard you can't shower after a mastectomy. I have to wash my hair every day If not it gets crazy itchy by the second / third day. What can I do? How many days do you have to wait to wash your hair - take a shower? Will I be able to lean over the kitchen sink and have my husband wash my hair? - (This should be interesting - lol)


  • Fritzmylove
    Fritzmylove Member Posts: 262

    Your husband should be able to wash your hair. I was not allowed to move my elbows away from my body for 2 weeks (t-Rex arms.) My surgeon’s also did not alllow me to shower until my drains came out (around day 10.) All surgeons are different so your restrictions could be very different. I had chemo first so I didn’t have to worry about hair after surgery.
  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,176

    The first time I had 4 drains. Was allowed to shower 48 hours later. Second time 3 weeks ago, one drain. Again, shower 48 hours later. Depends on your surgeon.

    First time, washing hair was”interesting “. Pinned the drains together and just did the best I could. Didn’t have much hair anyway thanks to chemo. Could bend over your tub and get DH to help. A hand held shower head attachment would help.

  • rrobin0200
    rrobin0200 Member Posts: 80

    you won’t be able to lift your arms above your head, so definitely have your husband help wash and dry. Tbh, you won’t want to move your arms above your head... it’s just too complicated with the drains.

    Make sure everything is at arms reach...

  • dhbbfh1999
    dhbbfh1999 Member Posts: 11

    I am sevens weeks out and washed my hair the night before surgery. Then I had an already scheduled hair appt 8 days after surgery so I had my hair dresser wash me twice and scrub really hard because I felt so disgusting. Then another 10 days later I went to Great Clips and had them wash me twice and scrub hard too. I had four drains and they were covered with clear tegaderm so I was able to shower after 48 hours. Wore IV tubing like a necklace with drains threaded thru when I took a shower. Can also use a lanyard or shoelace and safety pin drain loops to it for shower. At 2 weeks he let me raise arms out straight from shoulders and but not above head, and at 4 weeks after both sets of drains were out (had four drains for three weeks then 2 for one more week) I could raise arms above head and wash my own. But I still leaned over in shower and did T-Rex arms as much as I could.

    So I got my hair washed three times basically in 4 weeks. I won’t say I liked it but it was doable. My husband had already done so much I didn’t want to ask him to wash me. Plus I would of had to lean over the tub with hand held sprayer and didn’t know if that would be ok to lean on the implants. 🤷♀️

  • Christene502
    Christene502 Member Posts: 47

    Thank you ladies, I will be seeing the breast surgeon nurse on Wed to go over the paper work and all... She will probably give me all the instructions I need, if not, will ask all about showering and washing my hair.

    Rrobin0200 I have a frozen shoulder, can't lift my right arm above my I think it's best my hubby try to wash my hair in the sink...since I won't be able to do it myself since both arms will be out of commission for a while...This should be fun... I'm visiualizing water all over the place..

  • April0315
    April0315 Member Posts: 167

    I went to the great clips near my house. $5.75.

    Good luck!

  • Christene502
    Christene502 Member Posts: 47


    WOW $5.75 I would go to for a wash... Will check around to see if there's a cheap place near me....

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    I still have a bathtub/shower combo. So I kneeled on a towel in the bathtub, scrunched over and washed my hair underneath the spigot, carefully bending low enough that my T-rex arm movements didn't go up too high.

  • SuQu31
    SuQu31 Member Posts: 73

    My PS specifically wanted you to shower the next day after coming home from the hospital (for me, this was 3 days after surgery). I used a shower chair and a hand held shower attachment but my husband washed my hair for me. He was actually very good at it. I bought a pouch for the shower on Amazon made of netting that I put my drain bulbs in to shower. It ties around the waist and is very quick to dry. The seller makes them, I believe. It allows the drains to generally stay in place and no safety pins. Very inexpensive and worth every penny. I will try to find a link and post it, but search mastectomy and shower and it should come up. Shower chair is nice because you are a little more unsteady than you think after anesthesia and pain meds. Best wishes to you

  • beesy_the_other_one
    beesy_the_other_one Member Posts: 170


    Because I'd had a friend who had a BMX several years ago who by her own admission "did everything wrong," I benefitted from her (she was the one with the dog ears, which weren't her fault). She couldn't even turn on a light switch at 6 weeks because she wouldn't move her arms. So the night of my surgery I started moving my arms around and to my delight, I could even move them above my head. I cleared this with surgeons, but they encouraged it. You should ask your docs, but I would say the amount of movement to wash your hair would be good for you. Because I had been stretching for weeks after surgery, I was able to start radiation in record time.

    At the time of surgery, I did not have a stick of hair on my entire body and my plastic surgeons (for neat closure, not reconstruction) insisted that I take a shower daily, even with my two drains! I even argued, saying I'd rather not, but they said it's good to wash germs off the area of the incisions. I did not do it as often as they would have liked, but followed their instructions otherwise.

    One unrelated thing: when you meet with the anesthesiologist, make sure to request a nerve block (there's one you go home with and one that's more like incisions during surgery and both last for 3-5 days). I had the latter type of nerve block and I took very little pain medicine because of it and probably was the reason I felt comfortable moving as I did.

  • Christene502
    Christene502 Member Posts: 47


    When I fractured my shoulder, wore a sling, pain intensified, so Dr decided to operate. When under he saw I ended up with a bad bone infection due to the fracture. He couldn't fix it... My arm was in a sling for 3 months. That caused the frozen shoulder. I can't lift my right arm past my shoulder...I have 24/7 constant pain. No Dr will fix it. All due to the bone infection... I think when you are in one position too long, joints get too stiff. I worry that not being able to move my arms after surgery will cause more damage... I will try to move my arms, as long as it's ok with the doctor...

    Lymphedema can be caused by not raising your arms above your head... I know this since I had it in my leg after my THP. I had to see a lymphedema Therapist for a long time for treatment... Was told to lay on a wedgy, leg above the heart. My leg was wrapped with heavy bandages, not fun in the heat humid summer months... Plus had to wear a special custom made compression stocking...

    I will try to remember (wrote it down) to mention the nerve block... thanks for the tip.