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.
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.
Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
You may have one or more tubes to drain blood and fluids while you heal. Empty the drains, measure the fluid, and report any problems.
If tubes were placed, they will be removed in the doctor's office 1-2 days later.
Avoid vigorous activity for about four weeks, or as
directed by your doctor.
Try not to lift anything heavier than five pounds for about a week or longer if directed by your doctor.
Wear a well-fitting, very supportive bra 24 hours a day for the first week.
If you do develop complications from lymph node surgery, you will need to take some special precautions:
Do not have blood pressure taken, blood drawn, or shots given in that arm.
Wear gloves to do dishes, household scrubbing, and yard work.
Do not wear anything tight on that arm, including elastic in sleeves.
Do not carry heavy packages, purses, suitcases, grocery bags, etc. with that arm.
Keep the skin of that arm well-moisturized with a lanolin-containing product.
Use an electric shaver if you wish to shave your armpits.
If you had lymph nodes in your armpit removed during breast cancer surgery, participating in a physical therapy program may help to prevent lymphedema.
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.
American Cancer Society website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL)
1/22/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: 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.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.