Around 264,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. It’s one of the most common types of cancer, and surgery is one of the most effective treatment options available.
The thought of breast cancer surgery is scary, but it doesn’t always mean you’ll lose your entire breast. Lumpectomy is a type of breast cancer surgery that preserves much of your natural breast tissue and treats the cancer at the same time.
As a board-certified surgeon in San Clemente, California, Elvira Klause, MD, FACS, is skilled in breast surgery, and our team is here to help you find the best treatment for your case. Here’s what to expect before, during, and after a lumpectomy.
Before your lumpectomy
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, Dr. Klause evaluates your case to determine which breast cancer treatment is best for you. Lumpectomy is one of the most common treatments for people with early-stage or localized breast cancer because it preserves more healthy tissue than mastectomy.
Expect to meet with Dr. Klause a few days before your lumpectomy. We give you instructions to prepare for surgery, which may include stopping certain medications and not eating or drinking anything for 8-12 hours before your surgery.
Make sure you understand what to expect and the risks of lumpectomy before the day of your surgery. Consider bringing a list of questions to your preoperative consultation, don’t hesitate to ask us for clarification of anything you’re concerned about.
During your lumpectomy
Most lumpectomies are outpatient surgeries. You can go home the same day, but you’ll need to bring someone to your appointment to drive you home afterward.
On the day of your surgery, we give you final instructions and help you get comfortable. Our team administers general anesthesia, and you remain asleep throughout the procedure.
We use radiation to mark the cancerous tissue that needs to be removed. Then, Dr. Klause starts your lumpectomy. She uses minimally invasive techniques to remove the tumor and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. Removing this extra healthy tissue helps ensure no cancer cells are left behind.
Sometimes, breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes near your underarms. Depending on your case, Dr. Klause may make a separate incision to check or remove lymph nodes.
Once the cancerous tissue is gone, Dr. Klause sews the incision with dissolvable stitches. We move you to an observation room as the anesthesia wears off, then you’re free to go home.
After your lumpectomy
We give you specific instructions for caring for yourself at home after lumpectomy. You will have a bandage over your incision(s), and you may experience pain, tingling, or numbness.
Rest for a few days and follow our instructions to care for your incision and bandages. You may have some activity restrictions, and we’ll tell you when you can reintroduce your usual activities.
We send the tissue that Dr. Klause removed to a lab for analysis. Your pathology results take about a week to come back. We review the results with you at your follow-up appointment to determine the next steps of your treatment plan.
Most people who get lumpectomies undergo radiation treatment afterward. Radiation helps eliminate any cancer cells that may have been left behind, and lumpectomy plus radiation is a very effective treatment for early-stage breast cancer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, lumpectomy could be a good treatment option for you. Schedule a consultation online or call our office at 949-393-2595 today.