Breast Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy)
What is breast conserving surgery?
- In breast-conserving cancer reconstruction, the cancer is removed but the breasts are preserved, although they may appear slightly smaller. It is often called a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy or partial mastectomy depending on how much tissue is being removed.
- This type of surgery is generally recommended in certain cases with early detected, small breast cancers.
- The procedure requires removing only the lump with an adequate margin of surrounding normal breast tissue (wide local excision).
- It is performed in a manner to provide clear excision margins of the tumour to minimise recurrence risk, with careful consideration of incisions to minimise deformity.
- After this type of surgery, many women will most often have radiation therapy, and sometimes hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
- Choosing a lumpectomy instead of mastectomy has not been shown to impact long-term survival.
- Not all women are candidates for lumpectomy though, so Dr Cheung will discuss the best option for your situation.
What is involved in breast conserving surgery?
Dr Cheung routinely uses a breast Ultrasound during the operation to target the lesions to allow for accurate excisions and minimise the chance of needing a second operation to obtain clear excision margins.
This type of treatment is generally done as a day surgery and a hospital stay is not generally required.
- Before your surgery, Dr Cheung will also discuss the possibility of having reconstructive surgery, such as having the unaffected breast reduced, or reconstructive surgery to increase the size of the affected breast.
- She may also suggest surgery to improve the symmetry of the breasts, and in some cases no reconstructive surgery will be required.
- Our breast care team will show you how to care for the surgery site and dressing, and also your drains if you have one (a plastic tube that removes fluid during the healing process).
- Dr Cheung will also provide instructions on showering and bathing after surgery, what to expect regarding feelings of body image, the red flags for infection to watch for and when to start using your arm again.
Lumpectomy v mastectomy which is best for me?
- As Dr Cheung frequently tells her patients, not all are suitable for a lumpectomy oncologically speaking. But for those who are, there is no difference in long-term survival rates for lumpectomy and radiation v mastectomy, and this has been shown in many large studies now. Many patients feel frustrated at not knowing which choice to make, but Dr Cheung will work with you to address your physical and psychological concerns, and ensure you are comfortable with the decision you make.
- Radiation generally follows a lumpectomy procedure and this generally takes place 5 days a week, once a day, for a period of 3-6 weeks.