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Lumpectomy - Overview

Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure in which a part of the breast affected by a malignant tumor is resected. The very procedure removes the tumor with surrounding tissue but unlike mastectomy in which the entire breast tissue is surgically removed in lumpectomy some of the breast tissue is preserved. This makes lumpectomy less invasive procedure comparing to mastectomy.

Together with removal of the breast tumor and surrounding tissue a woman may also undergo removal of the axillary lymph nodes if they were positive for the presence of tumor (this is established prior the surgery with sentinel node biopsy).

Lumpectomy is performed only in case the breast tumor is in early stages and if it is small. It is not recommended for advanced stages of the disease, if the tumor is big or in case there are multiple tumors in the breast. Despite the fact that lumpectomy is less invasive than mastectomy the recovery time after the surgery takes certain time and a woman must stick to prescribed regimes which are actually the same as in case of mastectomy.

The Very Procedure and Recovery Time after Lumpectomy

The procedure does not involve a long hospitalization. Prior the surgery patients are administered general anesthesia and in some cases there is even possibility of local anesthesia. The surgeon marks the specific lines on the breast which are then going to be cut. This way he/she highlight the incision path.

After cutting the skin the surgeon removes the tumor together with certain extent of healthy surrounding tissue. If it is necessary during the same procedure axillary lymph nodes are removed. The incision lines are closed with self dissolving sutures or surgical staples. A drain is placed into the wound to eliminate excess of fluid. And finally, the wound is covered with dressing.

After the surgery the patients are transferred to a recovery room and administered necessary medications. It is essential to monitor vital signs right after the surgery. The drain placed during the surgery is removed after certain period of time. Patients are discharged with specific advice and orders regarding post surgery breast care.

The side effects of anesthesia may linger up to 48 hours. Prior being discharged patients are prescribed painkillers. Depending on the material that has been used in stitching a patient may need to come to a doctor to remove stitches or the stitches will dissolve by themselves. The dressing must be changed regularly and with special attention to hygiene. This way wound infection can be successfully prevented.

During the process of healing a woman is not supposed to engage in any kind of strenuous activity that will put pressure onto the operated area and on the arm on the operated side of the body. The complete recovery time after lumpectomy lasts approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

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