Breast_surgery_center_of_excellenceA lumpectomy is a therapeutic procedure utilized by surgeons to remove breast cancer while preserving the remainder of the breast tissue. Lumpectomy has been shown to have equivalent survival to mastectomy in the treatment of breast cancer. Radiation therapy is often recommended after lumpectomy to reduce local recurrence risk of cancer.

Understanding why a lumpectomy is performed, and the procedure’s benefits and limitations, is crucial to making informed decisions about your breast health. If you have questions about lumpectomies or other procedures for treating breast cancer, please don’t hesitate to contact the Los Angeles breast surgeons at La Peer Health Systems’ Breast Surgery Center of Excellence for a consultation with one of our surgeons.

Undergoing a Lumpectomy

Used to treat early-stage breast cancer, a lumpectomy involves the removal of abnormal tissue from the breast only, allowing for breast preservation.

Lumpectomy is commonly performed under general anesthesia or deep sedation as an outpatient procedure. After creating an incision, the surgeon will remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. He or she may also remove some of the lymph nodes to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymphatic system. Assessing the degree to which the cancer has spread is key to identifying the stage and determining the best method of treatment. After completing the lumpectomy, the surgeon will close the incision using sutures and the incision will be covered with a surgical dressing. Wearing a comfortable bra after the procedure can minimize swelling and discomfort. A follow up appointment will be arranged within 1-2 weeks to inspect the incision site for healing as well as to review the pathology results from the operation.

Benefits and Limitations

Also known as breast-conserving surgery, lumpectomy is used to remove abnormal or cancerous tissue while preserving the majority of the breast. For women with early-stage breast cancer, doctors may recommend lumpectomy followed by radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from returning.

Not everyone is a good candidate for lumpectomy. Patients with certain pre-existing conditions and those with late-stage cancer are usually advised to undergo other treatments options. Further, those patients with a strong family history of breast cancer may opt for a mastectomy to limit the chances of cancer recurring. Some women feel a greater peace of mind upon undergoing mastectomy.

The cosmetic and oncologic success of a lumpectomy depends in large part on the size of the cancer compared to the size of the breast, as well as location of the tumor in the breast. A woman with a large tumor and small breasts may see a poor cosmetic outcome from lumpectomy, as the breasts will appear uneven after treatment. Further, patients with multiple tumors in the breast or those with cancer spread throughout the breast will likely need to consider other treatment.

Lumpectomy Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who is not a candidate for lumpectomy?

A: Women with with large tumors, multiple tumors in the breast, or patients with cancer throughout the breast may not be eligible for lumpectomy. Patients with certain pre-existing conditions like scleroderma, lupus and chronic inflammatory disease may not be good candidates for lumpectomy if radiation therapy is recommended as well.

Q: What are some side effects associated with lumpectomy?

A. Side effects of lumpectomy include pain, numbness, hardening of tissue at the surgical site and a change in the shape of the breast, depending on the size of the lump that was removed.

Q: Will I be in pain after my lumpectomy?

A: Patients may experience breast pain and a pinching sensation in the underarm region after surgery. Typically, a mild narcotic medication is prescribed for short-term use after the operation. Your doctor can recommend appropriate pain-relieving medications to alleviate any discomfort you feel.

Q: When will I have the results of my lumpectomy?

A: Your surgeon should be able to sit down with you to discuss the results of your lumpectomy 1-2 weeks after the procedure.

Contact The Breast Surgery Center of Excellence Today

Understanding breast cancer treatment options can be overwhelming. If you have questions about lumpectomy, or if you’re interested in breast reconstruction after lumpectomy or mastectomy, don’t hesitate to contact the highly trained surgeons at the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence. Leaders in their fields, our doctors attended top medical schools and offer the most state-of-the-art technologies and treatments. Schedule a consultation in Los Angeles today by calling (888) 316-4167.

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