Get answers to your Breast Cancer questions.
Lumpectomy; Wide local excision; Breast conservation surgery; Breast sparing surgery; Partial mastectomy
Breast lump removal, called lumpectomy, is surgery to remove a breast cancer or other lump in the breast, along with some surrounding tissue from the breast.
This article covers lumpectomy that is done to remove breast cancer. Other reasons to perform a lumpectomy include:
If the breast cancer can be seen on a mammogram or ultrasound but the doctor cannot feel the cancer on a physical exam, a wire localization will be done before the surgery:
Breast lump removal is usually done in an outpatient clinic. You will be given general anesthesia (you will be asleep, but pain free) or local anesthesia (awake, but sedated and pain free). The procedure takes about 1 hour.
The surgeon makes a small cut on your breast. The surgeon then removes the cancer with some breast tissue around it.
Your doctor will send the lump to a laboratory for testing.
Surgery to remove a breast cancer is usually the first step in treatment.
The choice of which surgery is best for you can be difficult. Sometimes, it is hard to know whether lumpectomy or mastectomy is best. You and the health care providers who are treating your breast cancer will decide together.
You and your doctor should consider:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this procedure are:
The breast tissue that is removed will be looked at under a microscope after the surgery. If the cancer is too close to the edge of this tissue, you may need another procedure to remove more breast tissue.
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
The recovery period is very short for a simple lumpectomy. You should have little pain. If you do feel pain, you can take pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
The skin should heal in about a month. You will need to take care of the surgical cut area. Change dressings as your doctor or nurse tells you to. Watch for signs of infection when you get home (such as redness, swelling, or drainage).
You may need to empty a fluid drain a few times a day for 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor will remove the drain later.
Most women can go back to their usual activities in a week or so. Avoid heavy lifting, jogging, or activities that cause pain in the surgical area for 1 to 2 weeks.
If cancer is found, you will need to schedule follow-up treatment with your doctor.
The outcome of a lumpectomy for breast cancer depends mostly on the size of the cancer and whether it has spread to lymph nodes underneath your arm.
Women usually do not need breast reconstruction after lumpectomy.
Carlson RW, Allred DC, Anderson BO, Burstein HJ, Carter WB, Edge SB, et al. Breast cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, v2. 2010.
Iglehart JK, Smith BL. Diseases of the breast. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 18th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2008:chap 34.
Khatcheressian JL, Wolff AC, Smith TJ, Grunfeld E, Muss HB, Vogel VG, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology 2006 update of the breast cancer follow-up and management guidelines in the adjuvant setting. J Clin Oncol. 2006;24(31):5091-5097.
Abeloff MD, Wolff AC, Weber BL, Zaks TZ, Sacchini V, McCormick B. Cancer of the breast. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG, eds. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 95.
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