(Partial Mastectomy; Segmentectomy; Tylectomy)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
Lumpectomy is the removal of part of the breast.
Lumpectomy may be combined with a procedure to sample lymph nodes in the area (axillary dissection or sentinel node biopsy).
Possible Complications TOP
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a lumpectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
Do not eat or drink anything for 8-12 hours before surgery, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
General anesthesia is most often used. You will be asleep.
Description of Procedure TOP
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.
Immediately After Procedure TOP
Removed tissue will be examined. The findings may determine if any further surgery is needed.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
About 1-3 hours
Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. There is usually relatively little pain after a lumpectomy. There may be temporary unpleasant sensations, including numbness and a pinching or pulling feeling in the underarm area. Patients who have lymph node biopsies generally have more discomfort. If needed, you may be prescribed pain medicine.
Postoperative Care TOP
If you do develop complications from lymph node surgery, you will need to take some special precautions:
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. You will be asked to see your doctor for a follow-up appointment within 7-14 days after the surgery.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society website. Available at:
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1/22/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : 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 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last updated 01/15/2014