Lumpectomy is the removal of cancer in the breast. Healthy breast and lymph nodes may also be removed.
A lumpectomy is a treatment option for breast cancer.
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Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review problems that may happen, such as:
Some factors that may raise the risk of problems are:
The doctor may use a wire to help mark tumors that can be seen on images but not felt. This process is called wire localization.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before surgery.
Do not eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours before surgery.
General anesthesia will block pain and keep you asleep during surgery.
A small cut will be made in the breast. The tumor will be cut out, along with some of the tissue around it. A cut may also be made near the armpit to remove lymph nodes. Plastic tubes for drainage may be put in place. 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 watched. You may be given medicine to:
Removed tissue will be studied. The findings may show if more surgery is needed. If you had cancer and it has spread, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be needed.
About 1 to 3 hours
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after surgery can be managed with medicines.
Some movement will be limited in first few days or weeks.
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 website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113654/Breast-cancer-in-women. Accessed January 5, 2021.
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. Accessed January 5, 2021.
Lumpectomy. Encyclopedia of Surgery website. Available at: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/La-Pa/Lumpectomy.html. Accessed January 5, 2021.
Lumpectomy: What to expect. Breast Cancer website. Available at: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/expectations. Accessed January 5, 2021.
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 January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 1/22/2021