Lumpectomy – Cancer Treatment

Introduction – Lumpectomy

Lump in the breast is a common condition and most are not cancerous (known as benign breast lumps). Breast lump removal may be recommended if the patient has one of the following types of benign breast lump:

  1. Fibroademona – this condition occurs when the breast tissue becomes thickened.
  2. Intraductal papilloma – this is a wart-like lump that develops in a duct just behind the nipple.

These lumps are called as simple breast lumps. The surgeon will be able to advise about whether there is any need to have the lump surgically removed.

Preparing for breast lump removal

The surgeon explains about how to prepare for the operation. For example, if you smoke you may be asked to stop as smoking increases the risk of getting a chest or wound infection, which can slow down the recovery.

Breast lump removal is usually done under general anaesthesia. This means the patient will be asleep during the operation. The patient is also asked not to eat or drink anything at least six hours prior to surgery. However, it’s important to follow the surgeon’s advice.

It usually takes about one to two days to make a full recovery from a simple breast lump removal but this varies from patient to patient.
The woman may be recommended to bring in a soft, supportive bra to wear after surgery. The surgeon or nurse will advise about the most suitable type of bra.

Compression stockings may be advised to help prevent blood clots forming in the veins of the legs. An intravenous injection of an anticlotting medicine called as heparin can be given instead of wearing compression stockings. The vitals such as heart rate and blood pressure are checked, and routine urine tests may be advised.

The surgeon will discuss about the procedure, its benefits and side effect or risks involved. This will help the patient to be informed, so that she can give consent for the procedure to go ahead. This is done by signing a consent form by the patient.


  1. The surgery generally takes between 15 minutes and one hour depending on the technique used.
  2. A small incision is made on the skin, over or near to the lump.
  3. Then the lump is separated from the breast tissue and carefully cut away. Often this doesn’t require any other breast tissue to be removed but occasionally a small bit of normal tissue needs to be taken out as well. The surgeon will advise about this prior to the operation.
  4. The surgeon closes the incision with fine stitches which can hardly be seen and sometimes puts tissue glue or a small dressing over the wound. The lump is sent to a laboratory for testing.

After the surgery:

  1. The patient needs to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic wear off. Pain-relieversmay be needed to reduce any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off.
  2. The patient can go home on the same day of operation, but someone should be arranged for driving you home. A friend or relative should stay with the patient for the first 24 hours after the operation.
  3. The length of time required for dissolvable stitches to disappear depends on what type of stitches have been taken. However, for this procedure, they should usually disappear in about seven to 10 days.


  1. It usually takes about one to two days to make a full recovery from a simple breast lump removal but this varies from patient to patient.
  2. Most people are comfortable to go back to sedentary work after one to two days but contact sports should be avoided for some weeks.
  3. Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may be taken for pain relief if needed.


Side-effects are the unwanted but mostly temporary effects occurring after the procedure. Thee may include:

Bruising and some swelling – it improves as the wound heals

Scarring – the scar will gradually fade


Complications are problems occuring during or after the operation. The possible complications of any surgery include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, breathing problems, excessive bleeding, or developing a blood clot in leg veins (deep vein thrombosis, DVT).

Specific complications of breast lump removal include:

  1. Wound infection
  2. Unevenness in the size and shape of two breasts
  3. A temporary build-up of fluid under the wound (called asseroma).

- Link of interest: Twitter Lumpectomy – Cancer Treatment.


This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


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