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Lumpectomy or Partial Mastectomy


What It Is

Lumpectomy is a type of surgery that removes a lump and leaves as much normal breast tissue as possible. During the surgery, the breast cancer and some normal tissue around it is removed. This treatment is also known as a segmental or partial mastectomy.

This surgery is possible only if the lump is detected at an early stage when the cancer is relatively small. Often, some of the lymph nodes are also removed during surgery.

Treatment will depend on the size and spread of the tumor. Most women receive radiation therapy after surgery. This will help kill any cancer cells remaining in the area. This will also lower the chance that the cancer may come back.

What to Expect

1. When you get to the hospital, you'll change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry or valuables.
2. A mammogram or ultrasound may be used to mark the location of the tumor.
3. A member of the medical team will draw on the breast to mark the surgical site.
4. An IV line will be put in and a relaxing medication will be given.
5. An incision is made over the lump, which is removed in one piece with some normal surrounding breast tissue.
6. The lump is sent to the pathologist for examination.
7. The skin is stitched back together. In some cases, some lymph nodes may be removed.
8. You are then taken to a recovery room where the medical team can monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature.

Most patients need to stay at the hospital for only a 1-2 hours after surgery. Most don't need to stay overnight.

Before going home, you will be given instructions on how to:

  • Care for your surgery site
  • Recognize signs of infection
  • Exercise your affected arm to ensure a successful recovery

Possible Side Effects

It is not uncommon for patients to experience numbness after a lumpectomy. This is usually temporary. Some or all of the sensation often returns to the area.

When only one breast has had tissue removed, the breasts may look uneven in size. You can discuss breast reconstruction options with your doctor.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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