- What Is a Lumpectomy?
- What Is a Partial Mastectomy?
- Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy
- Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy Procedure
- Involving a Plastic Surgeon with a Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy
- Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy Recovery
- Breast Reconstruction at the Time of a Lumpectomy
- Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy Scarring
What Is a Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy describes a surgical procedure to remove a specific portion of the breast. This technique may be employed for breast cancer or a benign lesion in the breast.
What Is a Partial Mastectomy?
A partial mastectomy involves removal of a portion of the breast when there is typically cancer involved. The extent of removal can vary from a small amount to a more significant volume of the breast.
Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy
A lumpectomy removes a specific portion of the breast whereas a mastectomy removes the entire breast gland.
The Lumpectomy / Partial Mastectomy Procedure
The lumpectomy or partial mastectomy procedure involves removal of the specific area of the breast that has the disease. Generally, a margin of normal surrounding tissue is removed as well. Depending on the extent of tissue removed and the relative size of the breast, the local tissues can be brought back together to fill in the defect directly, or reconstructive procedures may be employed to do a more extensive reconstruction to fill in the area of defect while also reshaping and rejuvenating the breast.
Why Involve a Plastic Surgeon if You Choose a Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy?
A lumpectomy/partial mastectomy is an attempt to preserve the majority of the breast tissue while treating the breast tumor. Clinical studies have demonstrated that many breast cancers can be treated with a lumpectomy/partial mastectomy and radiation and achieve similar results as mastectomy. Therefore, the tumor and surrounding breast tissue is removed and most of the breast remains. However, radiation can have significant deforming effects on the breast. Reconstructing and re-shaping the breast at the time of the partial mastectomy, before having radiation to the breast, improves the long term shape of the breast. When considering a lumpectomy/partial mastectomy and radiation, several factors should be considered:
- How much breast tissue will be removed, relative to the size of the breast?
- In what area of the breast is the tumor – the upper, inner, outer or lower portion? This can have an impact on the final shape of the breast.
- Where is the tumor relative to the nipple? The effects of scar tissue and radiation can displace the nipple, resulting in significant asymmetry (differences) with the other breast.
- What is the size of the breast? Women with a small breast, such as an A cup, may have significant loss of volume after a lumpectomy/partial mastectomy leaving them with a significant deformity. The attempts at a “breast-conserving” lumpectomy/partial mastectomy may not be as good an option as a mastectomy with reconstruction.
- What impact will this have on the symmetry with the other breast? Do I need to consider a symmetry procedure on the opposite breast?
“Dear Dr. Parva,
Dealing with breast cancer is traumatic, but you and your staff made it easy.”
Lumpectomy / Partial Mastectomy Recovery
Recovery after a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy is primarily protecting the breast and limiting activities. Within a few weeks, generally women can safely increase their activity levels, although it may be recommended to postpone high impact activities for several additional weeks.
Breast Reconstruction at the Time of a Lumpectomy
Breast reconstruction techniques at the time of lumpectomy will be dictated by the location and extent of the lumpectomy being performed. Your plastic surgeon can discuss the surgical plan and give some guidance on what to expect. However, reconstructive decisions may be adjusted in the operating room based on the amount of tissue removed so there may be some variation in the scar patterns that result. Your plastic surgeon will also discuss and plan for a symmetry procedure on the opposite breast. This can often be performed at the same time or if preferred, at a later date.
Lumpectomy / Partial Mastectomy Scarring
Lumpectomies and partial mastectomies may often be performed through a small, limited incision and therefore a small scar. However, if a more extensive amount of breast tissue is removed and a breast reconstruction performed, then scars may be more extensive and may involve scars around the areola extending down to the breast crease and along the length of the breast crease. Your individual surgical plan will dictate the sites of incision and the subsequent scar. Your surgeon can discuss that in more detail so that you have a good understanding of what to expect.
Schedule Your Lumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy Reconstruction Consultation
For more information on the lumpectomy/partial mastectomy procedure, or to learn about breast reconstruction options following a lumpectomy, please contact Parva Plastic Surgery for your consultation with Dr. Parva, board certified plastic surgeon, today.