Lumps in the breast tissue may be from cysts, benign tumours (non-cancerous) or malignant tumours (cancerous). Lumps in the breast tissue may be found by self-examination or by breast screening imaging normally done as a mammogram (specialist x-ray).
Further diagnostic tests may be requested by your clinician in order to ascertain the exact nature of the breast lump. Further tests may include:
- Ultrasound scan
- MRI or CT scan
- Fine needle biopsy
At a pre-operative assessment clinic, our expert anaesthetists will perform a full medical screen to ensure you are ready for the surgery. Breast lump removal surgery is normally done under general anaesthesia but regional anaesthesia may be used in some circumstances.
A breast lump removal operation, often termed a lumpectomy, is an operation which normally lasts for approximately sixty minutes. If the lump in question cannot be seen or felt easily, under local anaesthetic your surgeon will insert a guide wire in to the area of concern so it can be accessed easily during the operation.
The operation itself involves making a small incision in the breast tissue which is made in a lunar shape to follow the natural curve of the breast and minimise any cosmetic issues. A specialised heated knife is used which minimised bleeding and scarring to access the area of the lump. The lump is removed and depending on the suspected nature of the lump some surrounding breast tissue is also removed.
Once the lump has been successfully removed, your surgeon will carefully close the wound. A small rubber tube may be inserted in to the area to allow the drainage of excess fluid from the operated area while you are in hospital.
There is a very low complication rate after a lumpectomy procedure. Some individuals may suffer with some nausea and fatigue following the general anaesthetic. Otherwise, signs of infection will need to observed for one to two weeks after the operation.
Your surgical team will review you one to two weeks after your operation and your surgical dressing and drains (if applicable) will be removed.
Pain levels can be variable after a lumpectomy procedure. Wearing a supportive bra can help with pain levels It is important to keep the shoulder on the side of the lumpectomy moving gently. Your specialist may prescribe some gentle exercises to help with any shoulder stiffness after the operation.