(Partial Mastectomy; Segmentectomy; Tylectomy)
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DefinitionLumpectomy is the removal of part of the breast. It is considered a breast-conserving surgery. Lumpectomy may be combined with a procedure to sample lymph nodes in the area (axillary dissection or sentinel node biopsy ).
Reasons for ProcedureThis procedure is done to treat breast cancer .
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Accumulation of blood in the wound
- Accumulation of clear fluid in the wound
- Lymphedema —swelling of the arm caused by accumulation of fluid in lymph nodes
- Numbness of the nipple or underarm skin
- Change in the size and/or shape of the breast
- Blood clots
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Poor nutrition
- Recent or long-term illness
- Use of certain medications
- Characteristics of the tumor to be removed
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor will likely do the following:
- Physical exam
- Fine needle biopsy to test the breast tissue for cancer
- Blood and urine tests
- Wire-localization procedure—if the tumor was visible on mammogram, but is not able to be felt, the doctor will use a wire to mark the tumor
AnesthesiaGeneral anesthesia —you will be asleep during the procedure
Description of ProcedureA small cut will be made in the breast. The tumor will be cut out, along with some of the surrounding tissue. Another incision near the armpit may be made so that lymph nodes can be removed. The nipple and areola will not be removed. Plastic tubes for drainage may be inserted. The incisions will be closed with stitches.
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Immediately After ProcedureRight after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
- Pain medications
- Antibiotics to prevent infection
- Medication to prevent blood clots
How Long Will It Take?About 1-3 hours
Will It Hurt?Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Postoperative CareThe breast may change in size or shape after lumpectomy. There may be local skin discoloration from dye used to localize lymph nodes for biopsy. The dye may also discolor your urine for a short time after surgery.Self-care measures and medications will help ease discomfort. Activity may be restricted for up to 1 month, but complete rest is not necessary. The care staff will help you with exercises to help maintain arm strength and prevent lymphedema. To prevent infection at the incision site, follow instructions on how to clean and care for the wound.
Call Your DoctorIt is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- If you have drains, report any problems that your doctor has discussed with you
- Oozing or discharge from nipples on either breast
- A lump, redness, or swelling in either breast
- If lymph nodes were removed: redness, warmth, swelling, stiffness, or hardness in the arm or hand
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- New, unexplained symptoms
American Cancer Society
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 7, 2014. Accessed November 26, 2014.
Exercises after breast surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/exercises-after-breast-surgery. Updated June 19, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2014.
Lumpectomy. Surgery Encyclopedia website. Available at: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/La-Pa/Lumpectomy.html. Accessed November 26, 2014.
Lumpectomy: What to expect. Breast Cancer website. Available at: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/expectations. Updated September 17, 2012. Accessed November 26, 2014.
1/22/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Torres Lacomba M, Yuste Sánchez MJ, et al. Effectiveness of early physiotherapy to prevent lymphoedema after surgery for breast cancer: randomised, single blinded, clinical trial.BMJ. 2010;340:b5396.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2014
- Update Date: 12/20/2014