Partial removal of breast

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What is Partial removal of breast?

Partial removal of the breast, also known as lumpectomy, is a procedure used to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue from your breast. Unlike total breast removal (mastectomy), this procedure involves the removal of only a portion of the breast. 

This procedure is used to confirm the diagnosis of cancer or other benign breast proliferation. Lumpectomy is also useful for women with early-stage breast cancer.

Why would I get partial removal of breast?

You may be a good candidate for the procedure if you:

  • Have a breast cancer mass less than 5 cm in diameter
  • Have enough breast tissue so that removing the mass and its surrounding tissue won’t leave your breast misshapen.
  • Had a biopsy that proved the presence of cancer, but the tumor is still at an early stage.
  • Have a benign or a precancerous malignant lesion

What happens during this procedure?

The procedure is usually performed using general anesthesia. This means that you won’t feel or remember anything regarding the procedure. 

The surgery starts with the surgeon making an incision over the area where the tumor exists. The surgeon will remove the mass and some of the surrounding tissue. This is done to ensure that all the abnormal tissue or cancer is removed.  Your surgeon may also remove some lymph nodes to determine whether the abnormal tissue has spread beyond the breast or not. 

Once done with removing the tissue, your surgeon will close the incision area with sutures that will be removed later or dissolve on their own. 

What happens after the procedure?

After the surgery is done, you will be moved to the recovery room for monitoring. Expect to leave the hospital within one or two days after the surgery.

Pinching sensation, numbness, and pain are expected in the area of surgery. Your doctor will manage this by prescribing some pain killers to reduce pain and antibiotics to decrease the risk of infection. Your doctor will also give you some instructions on how to deal with your wound, how to recognize signs of infection, and your activity restrictions.


The excised lesion will be sent to the pathology lab and results will be available within one or two weeks. Your doctor will explain the results to you and will tell you if further treatment is required. Further treatment includes more surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.


Cleveland Clinic: Lumpectomy

Mayo Clinic: Lumpectomy

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