Alternative names for this type of surgical procedure include breast conserving surgery or even wide local excision.
Lumpectomy is a form of surgical treatment that is offered to women who have breast cancer. It involves the removal of the cancerous tumour (lump) present in the breast. The doctor tends to remove some normal breast tissue that surrounds the tumour as well. This form of cancer treatment is commonly known as a breast “conserving” or “preserving” surgery.
This type of surgery is least invasive and only removes a part of the breast tissue. It is known to be highly effective, preventing the cancer from recurring the future.
On occasion the procedure can be concentrated on the area of the tumour only, in this case it is known to be experimental. Experimental or non-standard lumpectomy is mostly suggested for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at its earliest stages. For patients whose breast cancer is at its initial stages two forms of treatment may be offered- Lumpectomy and internal radiation or Lumpectomy followed by close observation.
The doctor will suggest lumpectomy if the tumour is very small in comparison to the patient’s breast size or the tumour is situated in such a place that it can be easily removed, or if it has affected only a certain breast region.
Radiation therapy follows lumpectomy treatment. Radiation is given in order to kill any cancerous cells that are still present in the affected area.
Why is lumpectomy performed?
The procedure aims to remove any cancerous tumour while still maintaining the shape of the breasts. Unlike a mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed, in case of a lumpectomy only the tumour and the surrounding tissue is removed. The procedure is also done for the removal of non-cancerous tumours or suspicious tumours in the breasts.
The treatment for lumpectomy starts with a mammogram or a breast biopsy, to determine the location of the tumour. A special wire may be placed near the region where the tumour is to guide the doctor during the procedure. If the tumour in the breast can be easily felt through the skin, this wire placement is not necessary. Before the surgery, the patient will be given general anaesthesia. An incision will be made near the location of the tumour and it will be removed along with some surrounding tissue. The doctor may also remove the sentinel lymph node or eve axillary lymph nodes for biopsy. The incision will then be closed and stitched.
The lymph nodes are generally removed during this surgery so that doctors can determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or not.
Women who opt for this procedure generally have a cancerous tumour in their breast which is 5cm in diameter or even less. Their breasts should have enough tissue, so that the appearance is not much altered if a bit of the tissue is removed. They should also have medical approval to undergo this surgery and radiation after.
Lumpectomy may not be suitable for you if you have scleroderma. This is a condition that makes the skin and tissues hard. This condition will make recovery after the surgery difficult.
Those who have systemic lupus erythematosus are also ineligible for the procedure. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that can worsen with radiation.
Women who have 2 or more than 2 tumours in different parts of their breasts should opt for a mastectomy instead of this procedure.
If a patient has already had breast radiation treatment in the past years, lumpectomy is not an option for them. The radiation treatment after the procedure will prove to be very risky.
If a patient has a large tumour and extremely small breasts, a mastectomy makes more sense.
Some side effects of the surgery include- bleeding and infection in the area the incision was made, pain, tenderness or soreness of the breasts, temporary swelling, hard tissue formation at the site of surgery and change in the shape of the breast.
Once the procedure is done the patient is shifted to the recovery room, where the blood pressure, breathing and pulse is monitored for some time. Very often patients also have lumpectomy as an outpatient procedure and are released once they gain consciousness.
Post surgery some pain and soreness in the operated area should be expected. A patient should get plenty of rest and take her medicine on time. Take a sponge bath until the stiches and bandages are removed by the doctor. Wear a bra that offers good support and start with arm exercises as instructed by the doctor.
After the surgery you will feel soreness for about 3-4 days. The bruising will take about 3-6 months to heal. Patients are generally allowed to resume day to day activities after 1-3 weeks of the surgery.
The procedure In India costs around 3,000 U.S $
If the tumour and surrounding tissue is properly removed, the results are quite permanent. If not the cancer may reappear.
The procedure in the U.S costs about 15,000 $ while in India it costs about 3,000 $
A mastectomy is surgical removal of a breast. The surgery depends on various factors and choosing a type of mastectomy best suited for an individual suffering from breast cancer requires experience and expertise. With advancing technology, there are more options available for women to opt for surgeries, which are minimally invasive and conserving in nature. Following are the various types of mastectomies and the factors, which influence them:
Types of Mastectomy
1. Total or simple mastectomy
This is a surgical procedure which involves complete removal of the breast including the nipple. The lymph nodes, which are small glands, are an important part of your immune system and are kept intact during the surgery. This form of surgery is most suitable if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
2. Preventive mastectomy
Preventive mastectomy, also known as prophylactic mastectomy, is an option for women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer. Preventive mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer by a huge margin. In certain cases, removal of the entire breast along with the nipple is advisable. Women who develop cancer on one breast often opt for preventive mastectomy and remove the other unaffected breast as well.
3. Partial mastectomy
Women who are in stage I or stage ii of breast cancer can choose this procedure. It is a breast conserving technique where the tumor is removed along with the tissue that surrounds it. It is followed up by radiation therapy on the remaining breast tissue, which terminates the cancer cells and stops them from spreading. There are two types of partial mastectomy, namely, lumpectomy and quadrantectomy.
4. Radical mastectomy
Although this procedure is almost out of use, it is still considered in case the cancer has spread to certain areas like the chest muscle. In this form of surgery, the breast is removed entirety along with muscles beneath it and the lymph nodes.
5. Modified mastectomy
It is a more commonly used procedure characterized by complete removal of the breast including underarm lymph nodes. The chest muscles are untouched in the procedure, therefore allowing a breast reconstruction to follow.
Factors influencing the type of mastectomy:
• Age of the individual
• Health in general
• Size of the tumor
• The spread of the tumor
• The rate of progression of the tumor
• Whether lymph nodes are affected or not
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.