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What to Expect After a Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a surgery that removes cancer and irregular tissues from your breasts. It’s also called a breast-conserving surgery because the procedure, as opposed to a mastectomy, only removes a part of your breast and not the entire thing. A lumpectomy is recommended for those whose cancer is only located at one site in the breast with a tumor that is under 4 centimeters

In addition to removing cancer and other abnormal tissues, a lumpectomy also confirms or rules out a diagnosis of cancer. Lumpectomies can also serve as an initial treatment option for women with early-stage breast cancer. 

When a lumpectomy is used for diagnosing purposes, and cancer is detected, we generally follow treatment with radiation or chemotherapy to reduce the chances of cancer returning.

At the offices of Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, your health and well-being are our greatest priority. We want to make sure that you’re fully prepared for the period following your lumpectomy, so we’ve compiled this helpful guide in order for you to know what to expect. 

Recovering after a lumpectomy

Every woman is different and recovers at her own rate. Generally, however, you can expect to recover from a lumpectomy after about a few days to a week depending on how your recovery goes.

How a lymph node biopsy works

If your cancer is at a level that’s invasive, you may have to have one or more of your lymph nodes removed. These nodes are located in your underarm and are usually the first place that cancer cells will travel to from your breasts. Removing the lymph nodes also serves to ensure that your cancer doesn’t spread. 

You’ll probably feel well enough to resume work and your regular activities after about two to three days. 

Aftercare for your lumpectomy

After your lumpectomy, you may need a surgical drain to collect excess fluid that may collect in the area where the growth was removed. You may also need follow-up drug therapy, like chemotherapy or hormone therapy, to ensure that the cancer doesn’t return. 

After surgery, you may notice that your breasts feel different. They may even have different kinds of sensations, like numbing, tenderness, and pangs or twinges. These sensations are usually reoccuring and diminish over time, generally within the months following your surgery. 

A lumpectomy typically limits the impact on your breasts, causing very little scarring or alterations to their appearance. However, if you’re unsatisfied with their appearance following the procedure, you can always opt for breast lifts, reductions, or cosmetic plastic surgery. 

At our offices we regularly perform a mastopexy, or breast lift, to contour, reshape, and eliminate unwanted sagging. This procedure has gained popularity in recent years, growing 70% since 2000 and outpacing the rate of breast implants at 2-to-1. Many women turn to breast lifts to feel comfortable again in their bodies after a lumpectomy.  


For more information on lumpectomies and other types of breast surgeries, visit our website where you can find contact information or schedule an appointment

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