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A lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery,it is a surgical procedure used to remove a tumour or lump from the breast while preserving as much of the healthy breast tissue as possible.

What It Does: During a lumpectomy, the tumour and a surrounding margin of healthy tissue are removed. The goal is to treat breast cancer or other breast conditions while maintaining the appearance of the breast and minimizing the need for complete breast removal (mastectomy).

Indications of Lumpectomy Procedure:

  • Indications: Lumpectomy is indicated for individuals with early-stage breast cancer or certain benign breast conditions where the tumour or lump is small and localized.
  • Purpose: The primary purpose of lumpectomy is to remove cancerous from the breast while preserving the breast's appearance. It is often followed by radiation therapy to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence further.

Who will treat for Lumpectomy Procedure:

Breast Surgeons or Surgical Oncologists: Lumpectomy surgeries are performed by breast surgeons or surgical oncologists specialising in breast cancer treatment and breast surgery.

Whom to Contact:

  • Primary Care Physicians: Consult your physician if you have breast concerns or symptoms. They can refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.
  • Breast Centers: Research and contact breast centres with experienced breast surgeons or oncologists.
  • Hospitals with Breast Surgery Departments: Contact hospitals with specialized breast surgery departments that offer lumpectomy services.
  • Breast Cancer Support Organizations: Organizations specializing in breast cancer support can provide information, resources, and guidance.
  • Referring Physicians: Your primary care physician or referring specialist can provide referrals to breast surgeons or surgical oncologists.

Preparing for Lumpectomy Procedure:

  • Medical Evaluation: Your surgeon will conduct a thorough medical evaluation, including reviewing your medical history, performing physical exams, and ordering necessary tests (such as imaging or biopsies) to assess the tumour and plan the surgery.
  • Preoperative Instructions: Follow any preoperative instructions provided by your surgical team. This might include medication guidelines, fasting before surgery, and any necessary lifestyle adjustments.
  • Medications: Inform your surgeon about any medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. Your surgeon may adjust your medication regimen before surgery.
  • Nutrition and Hydration: A balanced diet and stay hydrated to support your body's healing process.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: If you smoke, consider quitting or reducing smoking, as it can affect healing. Limit alcohol consumption before surgery.
  • Anesthesia Discussion: Discuss the type of anaesthesia used with your surgical team during the surgery.
  • Clothing and Comfort: Wear comfortable clothing to the surgery and follow any specific instructions your surgical team provides.
  • Communication: If you have any questions or concerns about the surgery, don't hesitate to communicate with your surgical team.

What Happens During Lumpectomy Surgery:

During a lumpectomy surgery, the following steps typically take place:

  • Anaesthesia: You will be given anaesthesia to ensure you are asleep and pain-free during the procedure. The type of anaesthesia (general or local with sedation) will be discussed with you before the surgery.
  • Incision: The surgeon will make an incision over the breast area of the tumour. The size and location of the incision may based on the tumour's characteristics and location.
  • Tumour Removal: The surgeon will carefully remove the tumour or lump and a surrounding margin of healthy tissue.
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy: In some cases, a sentinel lymph node biopsy might be performed during the lumpectomy to check if cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Wound Closure: The incision will be sutured and closed once the tumour is removed. Sterile dressings may be applied.
  • Surgical Drains: Depending on the surgical approach and extent of tissue removal.
  • Pathology Examination: The removed tissue will be examined under a microscope to determine if the margins are clear of cancer cells and to assess the characteristics of the tumour.
  • Recovery: the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area to wake up from anaesthesia. Depending on the anaesthesia used, you may spend a few hours in the hospital or be discharged on the same day.

Recovery After Lumpectomy Surgery Procedure:

Recovery after a lumpectomy surgery involves several phases:

  • Pain Management: After the surgery, you may experience some pain, discomfort, and swelling. Your surgical team will provide pain relief instructions and medications if needed.
  • Wound Care: Follow your surgeon's guidelines for wound care, including keeping the incision clean and dry.
  • Physical Activity: While you'll need to avoid strenuous activities initially, light walking and gentle arm exercises can help prevent stiffness and improve circulation.
  • Surgical Drains: If you have surgical drains, your surgeon will provide instructions on how to care for them and when they will be removed.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgical team. These appointments are crucial for monitoring your healing and addressing any concerns.
  • Pathology Results: Your surgeon will discuss the results of the pathology examination and whether any additional treatment, such as radiation therapy or further surgeries, is recommended.

Lifestyle Changes After Lumpectomy Surgery:

  • Healthy Diet: Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support your body's healing process.
  • Physical Activity: Gradually resume physical activities as guided by your surgeon. Engage in light exercises and arm mobility exercises to prevent stiffness.
  • Lymphedema Prevention: If lymph nodes were removed during the procedure, avoid lymphedema, such as avoiding tight clothing and protecting the arm from injuries.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to your surgeon's recommendations regarding wound care, medications, and follow-up appointments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a lumpectomy the same as a mastectomy?

No, lumpectomy involves removing a tumour while preserving as much healthy breast tissue as possible. Mastectomy is the complete removal of breast tissue.

2. How long does a lumpectomy surgery take?

The duration of the surgery can vary but typically lasts a few hours.

3. Will I have a scar after a lumpectomy?

Yes, there will be a scar at the incision site. Over time, scars usually fade and become less noticeable.

4. Will I be awake during the surgery?

A lumpectomy is usually performed under general anaesthesia so that you will be asleep and pain-free during the procedure.

5. Will I need radiation therapy after a lumpectomy?

Radiation therapy is often recommended after lumpectomy to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

6. Can I drive home after the surgery?

If general anaesthesia were used, you would not be able to drive on the day of the surgery. Arrange for someone to go you home.

7. When can I shower after a lumpectomy?

Your surgeon will provide specific instructions about when you can safely shower after the surgery.

8. How long is the recovery period after lumpectomy?

Recovery time varies, but most people can resume normal activities within a few weeks.

9. When will I receive the pathology results?

Pathology results usually take a few days to a week. Your surgeon will discuss the results with you during a follow-up appointment.

10. Can I wear a bra after a lumpectomy?

Your surgeon will guide on when and what type of bra you can wear after surgery.

11. Is it normal to experience numbness around the incision site?

Yes, some numbness and changes in sensation around the incision site are common and can improve over time.

12. Can I lift heavy objects after a lumpectomy?

Your surgeon will provide guidelines on lifting restrictions during the initial recovery period.

13. Will I need chemotherapy after a lumpectomy?

The need for chemotherapy depends on the characteristics of the tumour and the stage of the cancer. Your medical team will determine the appropriate treatment plan.

14. Can I breastfeed after a lumpectomy?

Breastfeeding might be possible after a lumpectomy, but it depends on various factors. Discuss this with your surgeon.

15. What are the risks of lumpectomy surgery?

Risks include infection, bleeding, changes in breast appearance, and the possibility of needing additional surgeries if margins are not clear.