A lumpectomy is a type of breast cancer surgery. Also called breast conservation, it involves removing the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. You may choose a lumpectomy over a mastectomy to keep your breast and maintain its natural appearance as much as possible.
While a lumpectomy preserves a significant amount of skin and tissue, it will change the look of your breast. The procedure may leave behind a dent or other unwanted distortions. Fortunately, our plastic and reconstructive surgeons, Dr. Christopher G. Williams and Dr. Jeremy Willaims can help you achieve a more cosmetically pleasing result.
Learn more by calling 303-706-1100 today to schedule a consultation. The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery serves patients from Lone Tree and Denver, Colorado. We also welcome those who travel to us from out-of-state.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Breast-Conserving Surgery?
Recovery times can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and other factors. However, you may be able to go home the same day. One or two-day hospital stays are also common.
You will receive detailed instructions regarding activity restrictions and aftercare guidelines. Generally speaking, patients can often resume most normal activities within two weeks. Avoid anything too strenuous and try not to make any repetitive arm movements on the surgical side.
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What Is Included in the Breast-Conserving Procedure?
Breast-conserving surgery can follow a few different steps depending on your situation. Your surgeon will be able to provide the most comprehensive information about what to expect.
First, your general surgeon will remove the lump or abnormality along with some of the surrounding breast tissue. Sometimes, several lymph nodes under your armpit will also be removed and sent to a pathology lab for examination. A drain may be inserted to collect fluid. After that, stitches or adhesive strips will be used to close the wound and complete the lumpectomy procedure. It is a relatively straightforward surgery that does not take much time.
If you are undergoing oncoplastic breast surgery, our board-certified plastic surgeons will step in before the procedure is finished. We will use immediate reconstruction techniques to improve your cosmetic outcome. Keep in mind that we can also perform reconstruction in the future.
What Type of Anesthesia Is Used for a Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy can be performed using local anesthesia. That means the area will be numbed. You will also receive a sedative to help you relax. It is normal to be awake but feel sleepy.
General anesthesia can also be used for a lumpectomy. Medicine will be administered to put you into a deep sleep during your procedure. Talk to your general surgeon for more information.
What Are the Risks of a Lumpectomy?
All surgical procedures carry some risk. Potential complications of a lumpectomy include:
- Temporary breast swelling
- A hard or firm surgical scar
- Discomfort or pain
- A dimple or divot at the surgical site
- Lymphedema (swelling) in the arm
Choosing to undergo oncoplastic surgery can also come with a few specific side effects. For example, fat grafting to create a smoother appearance poses the risk of fat reabsorption. Our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons will discuss the considerations associated with your oncoplastic treatment plan. A consultation is a great way to learn what to expect.
How Long Does a Typical Lumpectomy Procedure Take?
A lumpectomy is usually a short procedure. It typically takes between 15 to 40 minutes. However, it might last longer if you need to have some lymph nodes in your arm removed.
Oncoplastic lumpectomy will further extend the surgical window. Our surgeons can employ techniques such as breast reduction, fat grafting, breast lift, or breast implant placement. These approaches can improve your cosmetic result at the same time as your lumpectomy procedure.
Cosmetic Issues After Breast Conservation
After a lumpectomy, your breast will not look exactly like it did before. Some women experience only minor aesthetic changes, while others have larger or more noticeable lumpectomy defects.
The most common changes include a divot or bulge in the breast. In some cases, the treated breast is smaller or in a different position than the opposite side.
Radiation therapy can further impact your cosmetic outcome after a lumpectomy. It may cause the breast to shrink or become denser. Due to ongoing healing, your final results may not be visible for a year or more.
Techniques to Restore Breast Appearance
There are several plastic and reconstructive surgery techniques that can correct lumpectomy defects. The right options for you will depend on the nature of your concern and the result you want to achieve.
A lumpectomy often causes your breasts to be dramatically different sizes. By using breast reduction or breast lift techniques, our plastic surgeons can make your other breast the same size and shape as the breast that has been operated on, thus creating a more symmetrical appearance.
Our plastic surgeons can also fill in the lost volume of the depression left by removing the tumor. Many women feel devastated by this hollow, and fat grafting can be a very effective way of adding volume and fullness to the divot. Using liposuction, our surgeons remove fat from an area such as your abdomen and inject it into your breast to smooth out the depression caused by lumpectomy. Fat grafting has the added benefit of slimming down an area of excess fat.
Your Corrective Surgery Timing
In terms of timing, you have two main options for improving the look of your breasts after a lumpectomy:
- Delayed corrective surgery: With the delayed method, you will undergo a lumpectomy with your general surgeon. After you have healed, you can see how significant the defect is and decide if you want to address it. At this point, our surgeons can perform a second procedure using plastic surgery techniques to achieve a more aesthetic result.
- Oncoplastic surgery: Oncoplastic surgery is performed at the time of lumpectomy. Our plastic and reconstructive surgeon will step in and modify the breast immediately after your general surgeon is finished. A significant benefit of oncoplastic surgery is that it eliminates the need for a second procedure. However, this approach requires coordination between the breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon.
Deciding What Is Right For You
You may be wondering if a lumpectomy is right for you, or if you should consider oncoplastic surgery. It mainly depends on the recommendations of your general surgeon and surgical oncologist. Your cancer type and treatment plan also play a role in this decision.
Breast conservation surgery is more common, though both options have their advantages. If you are interested in oncoplastic surgery, it is important to advocate for yourself. Tell your surgeon that this option appeals to you, and ask them if they offer it.
Learn More About Post-Lumpectomy Reconstruction in Lone Tree
It is normal to feel concerned about how a lumpectomy may alter your breast. Know that you have options during and after your procedure that will allow you to achieve a more aesthetic outcome.
Call 303-706-1100 or click here to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons. The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery serves patients from Lone Tree and Denver, Colorado as well as across the country.