Lumpectomy is a procedure used for removing the tumor from the breast, along with some tissue that surrounds the tumor. It is often referred to as a breast preservation surgery and recommended for women suffering from cancer. It is also referred to as a partial mastectomy as a section of the breast tissue is generally removed. The amount of tissue that is removes differs from patient to patient. For instance, a woman can have approximately a quarter of her breast removed in the procedure known as Quadrantectomy. Therefore, if you are considering a lumpectomy after consulting your doctor, it is prudent to know how much of the breast tissue will be removed and the type of scar you might be left with.
Understand the lumpectomy procedure with a good and experienced doctor
In order to understand the lumpectomy procedure clearly, you should always consult a good doctor in the field. The doctor will inform you of what to expect when it comes to the procedure and how you should handle it. Your doctor will explain to you what to expect during the procedure. He/she will help you prepare for the procedure safely. The doctor generally will conduct some tests like an ultrasound or a mammogram to determine the exact location of the tumor in the breast. The doctor or the attending nurse might draw some markings on your breast to determine where the incision should be made. These markings are generally done with a felt tip pen.
Both local or general anesthesia might be administered to the patient. You also are administered medicine for relaxation that is generally given to you via an intravenous infusion or IV line.
What is the duration of the whole procedure?
The approximate duration of the whole procedure is generally 15 to about 40 minutes. Once the procedure is over, the doctor will provide you with information on how you should recover at home. You will be prescribed pain medication in case you do feel discomfort or pain when you reach home.
The doctor will also instruct you on how to take care of the dressing or the bandage that you have on your incision. There may be some follow-up doctor visits for changing the dressing. If you have a family member at home, the bandage or the dressing can be changed by him or her. However, the person should be present with you and understand how the dressing or the bandage should be changed correctly to avoid any form of infection in the region.
In the lumpectomy procedure, you may have a drain inserted in the armpit or the breast region. This drain might be removed after you leave the hospital, or it might stay with you for about 1 to 2 weeks post the procedure. In case, you leave with a drain inserted; you might have to empty its fluid a few days in a day. Here, the doctor will give you detailed instructions on how you should care for the drain and take care of yourself till it is inserted.