Breast lump removal, called lumpectomy, is surgery to remove a breast cancer or other
This article covers lumpectomy that is done to remove breast cancer. Other reasons to perform a lumpectomy include:
- Other noncancerous tumors of the breast
Breast biopsy - open Breast biopsy - stereotactic
Breast biopsy - ultrasound(core needle) Mastectomy
Lumpectomy; Wide local excision; Breast conservation surgery; Breast sparing surgery; Partial mastectomy
If the breast cancer can be seen on a mammogram or ultrasound but the doctor cannot feel the cancer on a physical exam, a wire localization will be done before the surgery:
- A radiologist will use a mammogram or ultrasound to place a needle (or needles) in or near the abnormal breast area.
- This will help the surgeon know where the cancer is so that it can be removed.
Breast lump removal is usually done in an outpatient clinic. You will be given
The surgeon makes a small cut on your breast. The surgeon then removes the cancer with some breast tissue around it.
- The goal is to remove breast cancer, along with a rim of normal breast tissue around it. When no cancer cells are near the edges of the tissue removed, it is called a clear margin.
- Your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes in your armpit (axilla) to see if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- The surgeon will close the skin with stitches. These may dissolve or need to be removed later. A drain tube may be placed to remove excess fluid.
Your doctor will send the lump to a laboratory for testing.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Surgery to remove a breast cancer is usually the first step in treatment.
The choice of which surgery is best for you can be difficult. Sometimes, it is hard to know whether lumpectomy or mastectomy is best. You and the health care providers who are treating your breast cancer will decide together.
- Lumpectomy is often preferred, because it is a smaller procedure and it has about the same chance of curing breast cancer as a
- Mastectomy, when all breast tissue is removed, may be done if the area of cancer is too large to remove without deforming the breast.
Review Date: 01/28/2011
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washingon. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.