- Breast Cancer
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Most women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis will undergo some form of surgery as part of their treatment. Depending on the stage of cancer and other factors, doctors may opt to perform a lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous lump/s) or a mastectomy (removal of one or both breasts). Often performed on patients with early-stage cancer, lumpectomy is an effective treatment that may preserve the look and feel of the natural breast. However, the recurrence rates for lumpectomy are slightly higher than those associated with mastectomy.
If you have questions about lumpectomy guided by needle localization, or another procedure for treating breast cancer, please feel free to contact La Peer’s Breast Surgery Center of Excellence for a consultation.
A lumpectomy is a procedure to remove cancers and abnormal tissue from the breast. If your doctor is unable to feel the lump, he or she may instruct the radiologist to place a thin guide wire in the breast using mammography or ultrasound. Inserting the wire takes between 30 and 50 minutes, and after you will be taken to the operating room.
You will be under general anesthesia during lumpectomy surgery and will not experience any pain or discomfort. After making an incision in to the breast, the doctor will utilize the wire to find the lump and then remove both. Once the procedure has been completed, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures and apply a dressing. A lumpectomy with needle localization, or J-wire, takes 30-90 minutes, but patients should expect to spend 1-2 hours in the Breast Center’s state-of-the-art recovery rooms after the procedure.
Following lumpectomy surgery, it’s essential that you keep your surgical dressing clean and dry. Swelling and tenderness are normal after lumpectomy, and you will be given a prescription pain medication to ease any discomfort you may feel. Your doctor will call you with the results of your lumpectomy 3-4 days after surgery.
Many women undergo radiation therapy for 5-6 weeks after lumpectomy to eradicate any remaining cancer cells. Your doctor will sit down with you to discuss the results of your pathology report and determine the best method of treating your breast cancer.
Q: Who is not a candidate for lumpectomy as a method of treating breast cancer?
A: Patients with scleroderma, lupus, two or more large tumors, or cancer that has spread through the breast may not be good candidates for lumpectomy.
Q: Are there any risks associated with lumpectomy?
A: While lumpectomy is generally considered to be safe, every surgery carries with it some risk of side effects. Complications associated with lumpectomy include bleeding, infection, scar tissue formation and changes in breast shape. Further, the chance of cancer recurring after lumpectomy may be slightly higher than after mastectomy.
Q: What is the purpose of needle localization?
A: J-wire helps ensure accuracy in finding and removing cancerous lumps.
Q: Will it hurt when the radiologist places the wire before surgery?
A: The radiologist will use a local anesthetic to numb your breast so you feel no pain when the wire is placed.
The doctors and nurses at the Breast Center of Excellence specialize in surgical procedures to treat breast cancer and reconstruct the breasts. If you are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, or want to learn more about lumpectomy guided by needle localization, feel free to contact us at (888) 686-9161.
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