Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Change Language

Breast Cancer Surgery: Procedure, Recovery, Cost, Risk & Complication

What is Breast Cancer Surgery? Indication What Procedure is followed : Risk & Complication More Info

What is Breast Cancer Surgery?

Surgery is a common procedure when it comes to treating breast cancer, as the main objective is to remove the cancer cells as much as possible. There are different types of surgery for breast cancer, depending on your medical history and the type and stage of cancer that you are suffering from. The two main types of surgeries are:

  • Lumpectomy, which is also known as partial or segmental mastectomy. This surgery involves removing only that part of the breast where cancer has been detected, along with some normal tissues surrounding it. The portion of breast that is removed depends on factors such as the size and location of the cancerous tumor.
  • Mastectomy, which involves the removal of the entire breast, including all breast tissues and at times even the nearby tissues. In some cases, patients may also undergo double mastectomy, where both the breasts are removed.

Indication

A breast cancer patient may require a surgery in the following conditions:

  • If one is in a locally advanced stage of breast cancer
  • Suffering from Paget’s disease (cancer cells form in/around the nipple)
  • Multiple tumors in different areas of the breast
  • Recurring of the cancer in the breast even after radiation
  • A connective tissue disease such as lupus or scleroderma, where the side effects of radiation cannot be tolerated by the skin
  • The patient is pregnant and radiation may affect the unborn baby

What Procedure is followed :

Pre Procedure

The following preparations need to be taken before undergoing a surgery for breast cancer:

  • Have a detailed discussion with your surgeon as well as your anaesthetist regarding the complete procedure of the surgery. You can ask questions to your doctor and clear your doubts, if you have any.
  • If you wish to have a breast reconstruction at the same time, you will also have to meet and discuss the same with your plastic surgeon before the surgery
  • Inform your doctor regarding the medicines, supplements and the vitamins that you are taking
  • Discontinue taking medicines that may increase the risk of bleeding in the course of the surgery, like blood thinners and aspirin
  • You have to stop eating or drinking anything 8-12 hours prior to the surgery. Your doctor will instruct you in this matter.

During Procedure

The surgery is normally performed by administering general anaesthesia. An incision is made around the affected breast. The tumor and the surrounding tissues are then removed. There are different procedures by which the surgery can be performed:

  • Axillary node dissection where several lymph nodes are removed from the armpit on the side where the tumor was located
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy where only one or two lymph nodes are removed and then tested if they have cancerous cells in them
  • Total mastectomy which involves removing of the entire breast
  • Skin-sparing mastectomy where all the breast tissue, nipple and areola are removed but not the breast skin
  • Subcutaneous mastectomy, which is removal of the breast tissue only, and not the skin, nipple and areola

Once the surgery is completed, the incision is stitched back that gets dissolved or has to be removed later. There may be plastic tubes placed in the surgical area for draining any fluid that may accumulate post surgery. The tubes will be sewn in place, with the other ends being attached to a small-sized drainage bag.

Post Procedure

After the completion of the surgery, you will be shifted to the bed and your pulse, breathing and blood pressure will be monitored by your doctors. There will be a dressing over your surgery site. You may feel numb, pain or a pinching sensation in your underarm area. You will be prescribed pain medications for it.

Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will be provided proper instructions regarding care at home, how to take care of your incision and drainage, recognising and informing your doctor if you see any sign of infection. There may also be some restrictions in your daily activities initially. You can also consult your doctors to have a clear knowledge when you can resume wearing a bra or breast prosthesis.

Risk & Complication

A breast cancer surgery can have the following risk or complications:

  • Bleeding from the incision site
  • Infection in the area of surgery
  • Temporary swelling
  • Pain and stiffness of the shoulder
  • Hard scar tissue formation at the surgical site
  • Hematoma, where there is a build-up of blood in the site of the surgery
  • A feeling of numbness, especially under the arm, if the lymph nodes have been removed
  • Change in the appearance and shape of the breast, especially if a large portion has been removed.

More Info

You will have to go for follow-up appointments so that the doctors can monitor your progress of recovery after the surgery. You may have to go for radiation therapy if the tumor was a large one, there were several lymph nodes that were cancerous, if the cancer had spread in the nipple or skin, or there are any cancer cells remaining even after the surgery. In case your cancer is found to be sensitive to chemotherapy, you can discuss other modes of treatment like hormone therapy with your oncologist. Apart from that, involving yourself with a counsellor or support group can help you recover fast emotionally. A healthy lifestyle with good food habits, along with cutting off tobacco and alcohol, will ensure a faster recovery and a healthy life ahead.

The cost of a breast cancer surgery may be approximately Rs. 3, 23,350 – Rs. 4,52,700.

Popular Questions & Answers

How safe the breast augmentation surgery is? Is it increases the chances of cancer? Please tell.

DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), PGDHHM, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi
complication after augmentation are fat necrosis, calcification, and sclerotic nodules—which directly influence the technical efficacy of the procedure, and of achieving a successful outcome.some female get chance for cancer only one in seven cases.
1 person found this helpful

Sir recently doctors have done surgery of breast cancer (mastectomy. Which precaution I should take after surgery.

MD - Radiothrapy
Oncologist, Mumbai
Do arm exercise regularly. Avoid lifting heavy objects from affected limb. Follow treatment as advised by treating Oncologist.
5 people found this helpful

Sir doctors have done recently breast cancer surgery. My question is, can cancer can be completely cured by chemotherapy. Or only stops growing cancer cells?

MS, DNB (Surgical Oncology)
Oncologist, Jodhpur
Hello Mr. lybrate-user, The cure is based on the stage and their molecular profile and patients profile etc. So talking about cure without much information is misleading. I Understand with your question is that probably she is having early stage d...
4 people found this helpful

How brest cancer can be cured I am suffering from 2 years. How much it costs for surgery.

MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
You needs a proper evaluation by a breast surgeon, which entails a history and clinical examination with a mammography and an ultrasound if not done already. Mammography gives an idea about the whole breast and Opposite Breast. I prefer a core Bio...
1 person found this helpful

Diagnosed with Breast cancer. FNAC done. No other tests done. Suggested surgery. Do I get other tests done or go for surgery immediately. The result of other tests will take another 12 days.

MD - Oncology
Oncologist, Hubli-Dharwad
Do the metastatic work up before going for surgery let it take few days as if its been spread to any other part then first chemotherapy to be given followed by surgery.
2 people found this helpful

Popular Health Tips

Good Cosmesis In Breast Cancer Surgery!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Pune
Good Cosmesis In Breast Cancer Surgery!
Cosmesis refers to the preservation, restoration of a body part in it s original form. Breast cosmesis is an important aspect and an endpoint of breast conserving therapy. The surgeons who carry out surgeries related to breast removal or upliftmen...
3274 people found this helpful

Breast Cancer - Is Surgery The Best Option?

MD - Oncology
Oncologist, Coimbatore
Breast Cancer - Is Surgery The Best Option?
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type of cancer, hormone sensitivity, size, grade and stage of cancer. A doctor considers the overall health of the patient and the patient s individual preference before recommending a treatment plan. Whi...
1954 people found this helpful

Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?

MBBS, MS- General Surgery
General Surgeon, Ambala
Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. It is also deemed to be one of the major reason of death among women, though lung cancer is the leading cause of this. The chances that a woman may die of breast cancer is about 2.7% of t...
2919 people found this helpful

Breast Cancer - Know How Can Surgery Help In Dealing With It!

MBBS, DNB ( Radiation Oncology), Fellowship in Uro Oncology, Fellowship in Brachytherapy
Oncologist, Mumbai
Breast Cancer - Know How Can Surgery Help In Dealing With It!
Breast cancer is usually genetic in nature and it may affect women whose mother or grandmother may have suffered from the disease. This disease may start from the inner portion of the milk duct, in which case it is called ductal carcinoma. In case...
1481 people found this helpful

Does Bariatric Surgery Reduces The Risk Of Cancer?

Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship in Bariatric Surgery, M.S.
Bariatrician, Lucknow
Does Bariatric Surgery Reduces The Risk Of Cancer?
Obesity can make life miserable. From unhealthy eating habits to unhealthy lifestyles and medical conditions, obesity can be an amalgamation of many factors. Obese people are a greater risk of suffering from many serious health complications like ...
1817 people found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
MD - Radiothrapy,MBBS
Oncology
Play video
Know About Various Surgeries
Hi! I am Dr. Lalit Chaudhary, senior consultant plastic surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Vice Chairman right now. We have all range of surgeries not just reconstructive plastic surgery but also the cosmetic surgeries with us. Nowadays gradual...
Play video
Breast Surgery
Hello friends, I am Dr. Anubhav Gupta. I am a consultant of plastic and cosmetic surgeon. Today I am going to talk about breast surgery. Breast surgery is a fast growing field, and a sub speciality of plastic and cosmetic surgery. Basically, breas...
Play video
Breast Cancer
Hello Friends! I am Dr. Vikas Goswami, oncologist, practicing in Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi. Today I will talk about lung cancer. What are symptoms, when should you suspect, what are the investigation that should be done and how do we treat it. It...
Play video
Breast Cancer
Hi, I am Dr. Dale D Rodrigues, Oncology. Today I will speak to you on breast cancer. One in 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer in their entire lifetime. About 60% of diagnosed cases in India are at the advanced stage. So, the point is to dete...
Play video
Breast Cancer
Symptoms, causes and treatment for Breast Cancer Patients Hello friends. My name is Dr. Gayatri Juneja. I m a practicing gynecologist in Model Town for the last 20 years. I m a visiting consultant in Apollo Cradle Hospital Moti Nagar, and Fortis H...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice