A lumpectomy or partial mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove cancerous breast tissue along with a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue to ensure all abnormal cells are removed. Also commonly referred to as breast-conserving surgery, this procedure preserves most of the breast in comparison to a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast. A lumpectomy is usually the best treatment option for early-stage breast cancer.
Women with invasive breast cancer typically have some lymph nodes removed near the armpit during a lumpectomy which are tested to see if cancer has spread beyond the breast. Sometimes, a drainage tube is surgically inserted into the breast area or armpit to collect excess fluid that can accumulate in the space where the tumor was. A lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy to prevent cancer regrowth in the breast.
Typically, a lumpectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure, meaning the patient can return home on the same day. If the surgeon removes some lymph nodes, the patient may be required to stay at the hospital overnight. While everyone heals differently, recovery from a lumpectomy usually takes just a few days. However, if you have had a more extensive procedure, it can take a few weeks or more. In the first few days after a lumpectomy, you will probably have some pain and fatigue. The skin around the incision may feel firm, tender, swollen, and appear bruised. Tenderness should go away in about 2-3 days, and bruising resolves within two weeks. However, firmness and swelling may last for a few months.
Proper lumpectomy aftercare is crucial for healing and recovery. Your surgical team should give written instructions about what you can expect to do once you are home. These instructions might include the following:
Though lumpectomy is a less invasive surgery, it still has a recovery period. During this time, follow your surgeon’s instructions in order to get better as quickly as possible. Here are the things you should know about post-surgical care:
You may be given medicine for pain or post-op discomfort. You can also use OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen in consultation with your doctor. If your surgeon prescribed antibiotics, make sure to take them as directed.
Typically, you shouldn’t have any dietary restrictions after surgery. However, if your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods. You may be constipated due to certain pain medications or reduced physical activity. Try to include a lot of fiber in your diet, or take a fiber supplement daily. If you still have a problem with bowel movements, ask your doctor about a mild laxative.
You may feel fatigued after surgery, so it is a good idea to get plenty of rest over the days following. Getting enough sleep is vital for recovery. Sleep on your back or on the side that has not been operated on to avoid putting pressure on the surgical area. Use a pillow to support the surgical area.
It is essential to do simple arm exercises to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness. You can usually begin on the morning after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you what to do and things to avoid until your drains are removed or your incisions are healed.
After a lumpectomy, wearing a supportive sports or compression bra day and night can minimize any movement that might cause shooting pain in breast. Speak with your medical provider to discuss what is best for you.
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Specifically designed with soft cups that provide gentle shaping and support to the breasts while you recover. These lightly padded cups and no underwire provides additional coverage and modesty, and maintains a natural silhouette.
Made of medical silicone and wrapped with a matte skin-like polyurethane film, this hand-washable breast form looks and feels natural. It is crafted for those who have undergone partial breast surgery, reconstruction, reduction, or when one breast is smaller than the other and can be worn on the right or left side.
Designed to enhance the look of one breast that is smaller than the other, this form is ideal for those who have undergone a lumpectomy. It is constructed from medical silicone covered in matte skin-like polyurethane for a more life-like feel. The natural appearance is enhanced by its beige color, deep concave back, oval shape, nipple, and areola.
It is important to be aware of certain signs that can indicate an emergency. Call 911 immediately if:
A lumpectomy can remove breast cancer while leaving natural breast tissue intact, which can help you feel more like yourself after treatment. HPFY hosts high-quality products that you can use post-lumpectomy. Visit HPFY to learn more.
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Sailaxmi Chennuru, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2017. A business management graduate, the study of anatomy has always been of interest to her.
After working as a medical transcriptionist for several years, she developed a keen interest ...
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