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Breast lumpectomy surgery and recovery – What to expect

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A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure in which only the tumor is removed from the breast. This an alternative to a mastectomy in which the entire breast is removed. If you are facing breast lumpectomy surgery there are questions you may have about the procedure and recovery. This article will address some of those questions and provide answers from a layman's point of view.

Choosing breast lumpectomy surgery

Your doctor can tell you if a breast lumpectomy is the right choice for your circumstances. As a general rule, breast lumpectomy, followed by radiation is as effective as a mastectomy in cases where cancer is confined to one location or lump. In cases where cancer has spread, more drastic surgical measures may be required.

Who should not get a lumpectomy

Breast Lumpectomy is not recommended for certain individuals. Patients with tumors larger than 2 inches or who have more than one tumor are not considered good candidates for lumpectomy. It is also unwise to consider lumpectomy for patients who have had an unsuccessful lumpectomy in the past or in cases where radiation has already been attempted.

The surgery

In a breast lumpectomy surgical procedure, the doctor will remove the lump and some surrounding tissue. Sometimes a tube will be inserted to drain excess fluid from the site where the tumor was removed. Breast lumpectomy is usually a quick procedure. It takes less than a half hour in most cases. A breast lumpectomy is commonly followed by radiation treatments.

What will my breast look like after surgery?

This is a difficult question to answer as each case is different. The appearance of the breast after surgery depends upon the size and location of the lump, the quantity of tissue removed and other less predictable conditions. Your doctor will be able to give you his expectations in this regard. Be aware that even an experienced surgeon cannot foresee every outcome.

What is the recovery time for breast lumpectomy surgery?

Once again this varies according to the individual and details of the surgery. Lumpectomies are often done as outpatient surgery. Most people are able to return to work within a week. There are some exceptions to this rule. The expected recovery time may change with surgical complications and unforeseen circumstances.

Why do I need radiation treatments?

Radiation Treatments are given after a lumpectomy to insure that all the cancer cells are destroyed. This is a necessary precaution. Even though the entire lump and surrounding tissue has been removed, there is a chance that cancer may have spread. Radiation treatments will destroy any cancer cells not visible to the human eye.

Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is for general informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for questions concerning lumpectomy surgery and recovery.

Sources:

BreastCancer.org

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