15+ Mastectomy Nursing Care Plans


Mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts either partially or completely. A mastectomy is usually carried out to treat or prevent breast cancer. Surgical management for patients with breast cancer usually involves lumpectomy or mastectomy. In many cases, radiation therapy is combined with surgery.

Types of breast surgery include:

  • Total (simple) mastectomy – removal of breast tissue and nipple
  • Modified radical mastectomy – removal of the breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm, and often the lining over the chest muscles
  • Lumpectomy – surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it

Nursing Care Plans

Providing perioperative nursing care for patients who are to undergo Mastectomy is an integral part of the therapeutic regimen. The nursing goal is to provide support, alleviating anxiety, managing pain, and providing information.

Here are 15+ nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for a patient undergoing Mastectomy:

  1. Fear/Anxiety
  2. Impaired Skin Integrity
  3. Acute Pain
  4. Situational Low Self-Esteem
  5. Impaired Physical Mobility
  6. Deficient Knowledge
  7. Risk for Injury
  8. Impaired Skin Integrity
  9. Activity Intolerance
  10. Risk for Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  11. Risk for Infection
  12. Ineffective Therapeutic Management
  13. Risk for Dysfunctional Grieving
  14. Ineffective Peripheral Tissue Perfusion
  15. Fear
  16. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans

Impaired Skin Integrity

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Surgical removal of skin/tissue; altered circulation, presence of edema, drainage; changes in skin elasticity, sensation; tissue destruction ­(radiation)

Possibly evidenced by

  • Disruption of skin surface, destruction of skin layers/subcutaneous tissues

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will achieve timely wound healing, free of purulent drainage or erythema.
  • Client will demonstrate behaviors/techniques to promote healing/prevent complications.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Inspect dressings anteriorly and posteriorly for characteristics of drainage. Monitor amount of edema, redness, and pain in the incision.Use of dressings depends on the extent of surgery and the type of wound closure. (Pressure dressings are usually applied initially and are reinforced, not changed.) Drainage occurs because of the trauma of the procedure and manipulation of the numerous blood vessels and lymphatics in the area.
Perform routine assessment of involved arm. Elevate hand or arm with shoulder positioned at appropriate angles (no more than 65 degrees of flexion, 45–65 degrees of abduction, 45–60 degrees of internal rotation) and forearm resting on wedge or pillow, as indicated.Preventing or minimizing edema reduces the discomfort and complications associated with it. Elevation of affected arm facilitates drainage and resolution of edema. Note: Lymphedema is present in about 25% of patients and may develop immediately after surgery or years later.
Monitor temperature.Early recognition of developing infection can enable the rapid institution of treatment.
Maintain in semi-Fowler’s position on the back or unaffected side; avoid letting the affected arm dangle.Assists with drainage of fluid through use of gravity.
Refrain from measuring blood pressure (BP), injecting medications, or inserting IVs in the affected arm.Increases potential of constriction, infection, and lymphedema on the affected side.
Observe graft site (if done) for color, blister formation; note drainage from donor site.Color will be affected by the availability of circulatory supply. Blister formation provides a site for bacterial growth or infection.
Assess wound drains, periodically noting amount and characteristics of drainage.Drainage of accumulated fluids (lymph, blood) enhances healing and reduces the susceptibility to infection. Suction devices (Hemovac, Jackson-Pratt) are often inserted during surgery to maintain negative pressure in the wound. Tubes are usually removed around the third day or when drainage ceases.
Encourage wearing of loose-fitting or non-constrictive clothing. Tell patient not to wear a wristwatch or other jewelry on affected arm.Reduces pressure on compromised tissues, which may improve circulation and healing and minimize lymphedema.
Carry out antibiotics as indicated.May be given prophylactically or to treat specific infection and enhance healing.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other care plans and nursing diagnoses related to reproductive and urinary system disorders:


Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
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