Lumpectomy and partial mastectomy are breast-conserving operations in which the surgeon removes the tumor together with some normal breast tissue surrounding it. Breast-conserving procedures can often be done with local anesthesia and sedation or under general anesthesia (being put to sleep) on an outpatient basis.
Women who have this surgery usually:
Lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is often considered the standard therapy for women who meet these criteria. Large studies have shown similar survival rates for both breast conservation with radiation and removal of the whole breast, but a lumpectomy gives a better cosmetic result.
Women who aren't candidates for lumpectomy plus radiation include those who:
A lumpectomy is done under local or general anesthesia and usually takes one to two hours. Small metallic clips may be placed inside the breast to mark the area for the radiotherapist to treat. Lymph nodes are often examined at the same time as the breast tissue is removed, either by extending the incision to the armpit or by a separate small incision under the arm. Often, a blue dye or a small amount of radioactive material will be injected around the nipple area. These markers are taken up by the lymph nodes and help to identify which lymph nodes to remove (sentinel lymph node biopsy). The tissue that is removed from the breast is sent to the pathology laboratory where tests are done to identify the type of tumor, whether lymph nodes are involved by tumor, and to assess the tumor for hormone sensitivity (estrogen and progesterone receptors). In addition, other specialized tests that determine prognosis and treatment, such as Her-2 neu, and oncotyping may also be performed. It may take several days to identify the type of tumor and receive the results of the specialized tests.
Also before surgery, your surgeon should provide:
After surgery, you need to watch for complications such as infection, hematoma or lymphedema and swelling in your arm or hand. Call your surgeon immediately if you see signs of swelling, a buildup of fluid in the breast, redness, pain or other symptoms of infection.
© Copyright 1995-2020 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 02/01/2014