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Breast lumpectomy also referred to as breast-conserving surgery, is a medical intervention recommended for patients with breast cancer. Breast cancer affects nearly 2.3 million women every year on a global scale and is a leading cause of cancer-related mortality. The cancer develops in the cells and tissues that make up the breasts and is marked by their uncontrollable multiplication. These cancerous cells accumulate to form a tumor. A lumpectomy aims at extracting this tumor, along with some healthy tissue, leaving the remaining breast intact.
What is breast lumpectomy?
Breast cancer is often characterized by the development of a lump (tumor) on the patient’s breast. A lumpectomy is an advanced surgical intervention in which doctors remove the cancerous lump, with a little portion of the surrounding healthy tissues. Unlike mastectomy, which involves the complete removal of the breast, lumpectomy only aims at removing the lump and is usually recommended during the initial stage of cancer, when it is still localized. It is due to this very reason that the surgical intervention is also, sometimes, referred to as partial mastectomy. The procedure may be followed by a breast reconstruction surgery, that uses healthy cells and tissues from some other part of the patient’s body, in order to restore the normal appearance of the patient’s breast.
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What are the different types of breast lumpectomy?
Lumpectomy is broadly classified into two different types based on the amount of tissue that has been removed during the surgery. These are:
- Wedge resection - This involves the removal of the tumor along with a large, wedge-shaped section of the breast.
- Quadrantectomy - This involves the extraction of the tumor along with near about a quarter of the breast
What to expect before the procedure?
Before the procedure will be required to undergo a Mammogram or ultrasound which will help your doctors to precisely locate the tumor. The procedure is done under the influence of local anesthesia which is directly administered to the breast tissue. A thin guide wire is inserted into the area to mark it. This is referred to as localization and it can be done even without the use of a wire.
What happens during the procedure?
- The surgical procedure is performed under the influence of anesthesia and takes about 60 to 90 minutes if performed individually.
- Doctors usually use an electric scalpel along with an electrocautery knife. The former uses heat to alleviate unnecessary bleeding.
- The incision is made along the curvature of the breast, in order to make the scars less visible.
- The tumour is carefully removed along with some portion of the healthy tissue that surrounds it
- Small clips are used to mark the surgical site to make it easier to deliver radiation therapy. This is done to make sure that no cancer cells are left behind.
- Doctors might introduce a drain in the breast which is kept there for a couple of days. This helps to alleviate the risks of fluid buildup.
What to expect after the procedure?
- After the procedure, you will be shifted to the recovery room where you will be kept under keen observation.
- Your vitals will be taken occasionally to make sure that everything is normal.
- Patients usually need to stay in the hospital overnight, however, in case of any complication, the hospital stay may be extended.
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