Lumpectomy 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).
This procedure is done to treat breast cancer.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
Do not eat or drink anything for 8-12 hours before surgery, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
General anesthesia—you will be asleep during the procedure
A 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.
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Removed tissue will be examined. The findings may determine if any further surgery is needed. If you had cancer and it has spread, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be needed.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
The 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 one 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 doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113654/Breast-cancer-in-women. Updated October 20, 2017. Accessed January 5, 2018.
Exercises after breast surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/surgery-for-breast-cancer/exercises-after-breast-cancer-surgery.html. Updated September 13,2017. Accessed January 5, 2018.
Lumpectomy. Encyclopedia of Surgery website. Available at: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/La-Pa/Lumpectomy.html. Accessed January 5, 2018.
Lumpectomy: What to expect. Breast Cancer website. Available at: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/expectations. Updated March 4, 2015. Accessed January 5, 2018.
Torres Lacomba M, Yuste Sánchez MJ, Zapico Goñi A, et al. Effectiveness of early physiotherapy to prevent lymphoedema after surgery for breast cancer: randomised, single blinded, clinical trial. BMJ. 2010;340:b5396.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.