The most common indication for this procedure is breast cancer (or the suspicion thereof).
Lumpectomy is the removal of a breast tumour (or “lump”) and some of the normal tissue that surrounds it. The operation may involve removal of the lymph nodes (glands) in the axilla (armpit). No muscles are removed. Alternative names: breast conserving surgery, partial mastectomy, wide local excision, quadrantectomy, or wedge resection. Most people receive about 6 weeks of radiation therapy shortly after lumpectomy in order to eliminate any cancer cells that may be present in the remaining breast tissue.
- Complications are very seldom and rarely serious. Bruising, scabbing, blistering, or skin loss along the edges of the skin cut may occur. Infection of the surgical wound may occur, but this is rare.
- Occasionally some old blood or fluid (seroma) collects under the wound. In some cases, this will resolve on its own, however if it doesn’t this can easily be drained.
- You may feel pins and needles where the breast lump used to be and underneath the arm. There may also be a numb patch in the skin of the armpit and under the inside of the upper arm. This patch slowly lessens in size but may always remain.
- Swelling of the arm (called lymphedema) may occur on the same side as where the glands were removed. This swelling is not common but can be an on-going problem.
- Injury to the nerves that go to the muscles of the arm, back and chest wall may occur but is usually minor.
- Your breasts may not match precisely in size and shape after surgery. This is because removing breast tissue during surgery usually makes the affected breast appear smaller. (After lumpectomy, all tissue removed from the breast is examined carefully to see if cancer cells are present in the margins – the normal tissue surrounding the tumour. If cancer cells are found in the margins extending out to the edge of the breast tissue removed, you will need additional surgery (called re-excision) to remove the remaining cancer.)
After your consultation:
- Obtain authorization from your medical aid and book your bed for your hospital admission.
- Carefully read through pre-operative information provided.
Day before surgery:
- Do not eat/drink after 22h00, the night before your surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon or anaesthetist (you should be fasting for at least 6 hours before the procedure for solids but you are allowed to take clear liquids up to two hours before your procedure).
Day of surgery:
- Arrive for admission at indicated time on ‘Code & Consent’ sheet.
- Change into theatre attire, remove all valuable belongings.
Approximately 1-2 hours.
Duration of hospital stay:
- Duration of hospital stay: 1-2 days (dependent on pain management and general state of patient).
- Refrain from strenuous activities (incl. exercise) for at least 4 weeks post-operatively.
Back to work:
- Sick leave required post-operatively is approximately 7-14 days.
Some pain and discomfort post operatively may be expected following any operation, but the following measures are used to lessen the pain experienced:
- Warming devises in theatre as well as warm intravenous fluids.
- Intra-operative pain medication through the drip.
- Post-operative medication through the drip, please inform the nurses if you are in pain so that medication will be administered to you.
- As close to one week after discharge as possible. Please contact the rooms to schedule an appointment.