A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure to remove malignant or other abnormal breast tissue with some healthy tissue around it. It is often also called a partial mastectomy, as we are only removing a part of the breast. In the majority of breast cancers, this can be accomplished with one surgery, however, sometimes this may require multiple operations. If you are a candidate for a lumpectomy, as many women are, the details will be explained by your surgeon. In the majority of times after a lumpectomy, you will require a short course of directed radiation therapy to reduce the likelihood of cancer from returning. Again, this will be more thoroughly explained by the surgeon.

The Procedure Of Lumpectomy

The procedure of a lumpectomy for cancer is most commonly performed as an outpatient procedure in the hospital. This means you go home the same day as the surgery. It can be done either under local anesthesia with IV sedation or under general anesthesia. The surgeon will discuss this with you when you are planning your surgery. A lumpectomy sometimes will require an additional procedure at the time of surgery, localizing cancer. This is done by a radiologist just prior to the surgery and will be discussed with the surgeon.

Recovery for a Lumpectomy

After a lumpectomy, the patient returns home after surgery the same day. She can resume normal activities in a short period of time, but the surgeon will discuss that in full detail during the postoperative office visit, which is usually the week after surgery.

The following measures are commonly taken to assist in healing:

  • Ice packs to the affected area
  • Wearing the compression bra that the surgeon placed you in at the time of the operation
  • Avoidance of strenuous activity until discussed with the surgeon
  • Prescribed pain medicine
  • Caring for the incisions
  • Being aware of signs of infections
  • Follow up appointment with the surgeon in 1-2 weeks

Risks Of Lumpectomy

There are a few risks associated with the lumpectomy including:

  • Infection, signaled by redness or swelling at the surgical site, or fever
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Allergic reaction
  • Others

These will be discussed in greater detail by the surgeon before and after surgery.

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