What Is A Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy is a surgery to remove abnormal tissue or cancer from the breast. This procedure differs from mastectomy because only a portion of the breast is removed instead of the entire breast. The operation is sometimes also called breast-preserving surgery. Thanks to recent technological advancements, something called a breast localizer can improve lumpectomy surgery. Consider these 3 facts about breast localizers.
What is a breast localizer?
A lumpectomy begins with identifying the area of the breast that needs to be removed. Traditionally, this involved a same-day procedure to place wires or clips in the chest. The surgeon would then use the wire as a guide to removing a precise area. A new technology called a localizer can improve this process by using radioactive seeds to identify the area for resection. What are the benefits of this approach?
1. More convenience and peace of mind
Using wireless technology means that patients can have lesions marked up to 30 days before the lumpectomy. This means that patients can go home between the localization and the lumpectomy. In the past, patients had to endure a long day with multiple procedures, which was often exhausting and stressful.
2. Less invasive
Traditional methods using wires left a wire protruding from the breast. This caused more discomfort and also increased risks of infection. With this approach, there is also a potential that the wire will move, leading to inaccurate localization during the surgery. One small movement could lead to a delay in the entire procedure.
3. Smoother scheduling for everyone
With these new localization options, not only do patients have the convenience of a shorter surgery day, but the logistics can be easier for the medical team as well. In the past, radiologists and surgeons needed to coordinate procedures precisely, as the localization had to be done on the day of the surgery. Now, the available technology allows for more easeful care coordination and efficiency.
What to expect
Lumpectomy surgery can cause some anxiety or stress. The actual procedure typically only takes around 15-40 minutes. Surgeons use special electrocautery knives to minimize bleeding while removing the tumor. Sometimes, patients will have a rubber tube placed into the breast area to collect excess fluid drainage. The area is usually closed with stitches or staples that may need to be removed after healing.
After lumpectomy, patients are monitored in the hospital for a few hours. Usually, an overnight stay is not necessary. Recovery typically will involve rest, pain medication, and exercising the arm to prevent stiffness. In the following weeks and months, patients will have scheduled follow-up visits to monitor healing and progress. For more information about lumpectomy surgery, speak with a healthcare provider or surgeon.