FAQ: Breast Lumpectomy

If you have a breast tumor in your breast that needs to be removed

It will remove the tumor in the breast to stop the cancer cells from spreading to the whole breast and thus avoiding the need for a mastectomy

Nonsurgical options could be chemotherapy and other forms of radiation therapy, however these are usually are in combination with the surgery

There is mastectomy, but this is only when the patient has no other choice

The sooner we are able to identity  and remove the tumor, the greater chance you will have in preventing or stopping the spread of the tumor

Patients may do radiation therapy or chemotherapy without the surgery but it may be harder to manage and predict the growth of the tumor

Delaying of the procedure could increase the risk of further spreading of the tumor

The goal of the surgery is to remove all traces of cancer cells currently present in the breast

It can improve your survival by removing the tumor before it gets any larger and starts to spread to other locations

The surgery should help you feel as if you have more control of managing the growth of the tumor by removing it and thus avoiding the chance of the tumor spreading

It is best for you to do so to understand the severity of your condition and to have a better idea of the outcome by taking into account your genetic background

The risks and complications are similar to other aesthetic surgery. They include local such as hypertrophic scar and or keloid, asymmetry, skin ischemia and loss and hematoma this is more common in smoker. The systemic complications include blood clot and PE and other anesthesia risks. In healthy patients in the hands of board certified Plastic Surgeons, the complication rates are in fact not very high.

This surgery is usually performed by a general surgeon

We will learn whether the removal of the tumor will be the only treatment you need in order to be cancer-free or if the cancer will reoccur again and continue to grow

This will depend on the stage and severity of the breast cancer. In more serious cases, you will need to remove more than a couple of lymph nodes

The pathology usually takes about 2 weeks to come back.

This surgery is usually done in conjunction with radiation therapy.

This will depend on the stage and severity of the breast cancer. You can further discuss this with me during consultation

This will depend on the stage and severity of the breast cancer. You can further discuss this with me in more detail during consultation

Breast reconstruction can be done if you experience any asymmetry in both breast. You may either correct this by obtaining fat tissue from a donor site or have implant placement

A small incision is usually made above the nipple, however this will depend on the size of the tumor

Blood transfusions are rare for lumpectomy

You will have increase sensitivity to the operated area, experience itchiness and have some discomfort

The pain is usually mild in the first few days to one to two weeks. Mild narcotic or even plain Tylenol may be enough for average patients.

You will be given mild narcotic during the first few days after surgery follow by extra strength Tylenol after a few days.

If there may be a lot of drainage after the procedure, a small drain may be placed until all of the excess fluid is finished draining out.

The scar will be thin but visible where the incision was made to remove the tumor

The surgery is usually performed as an outpatient.

You can contact me directly at my office and keep in touch with your family doctor for any general questions you may have. Your files will be shared among your care providers with details of how your surgery went

You can usually return to your normal routine within a week but it is advised that you avoid any physically demanding activities and heavy lifting

You may drive once you stop taking narcotic pain medication and feel able to drive.

You can usually return to work within  a week. If your job is very physical than it may take a little longer.

I usually like the procedure to be done under general anesthesia.

You will meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery in the preoperative area. You may arrange to speak to an anesthesiologist by telephone prior to your surgery date.

History and physical, EKG, CBC, and metabolic panel for patients over 55 years of age. Thyroid panel for patients with thyroid disorders.

Stop eating and drinking at least 6 hours before the start of your surgery or by midnight the night before surgery.

Arrive one and an half hour before your scheduled surgery.

You can get the information on our website or call my office for direction.

  • Will I need someone to drive me home from the hospital?
    Yes. You will need an adult to drive you home and stay with you 24 hours after surgery.
  • Arrange for personal items you might need during your hospital stay
    Yes, arrange for help driving, heavy lifting, and caring for pets for the first few days.
  • Arrange for someone to take care of responsibilities at home and work
    Yes, you cannot drive yourself home after facelift.
  • Arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital
    You will need an adult to drive you home and stay with you 24 hours after surgery
  • Arrange for someone to stay with you the first night after surgery
    You can call my office if you have any other questions
  • Call your doctor if you think of other questions
    Notify your doctor if you get sick within 10 days of your surgery (even minor illnesses like a cold)
  • Stop eating and/or drinking as advised by your doctor
    Do not drink alcohol 24 hours prior to surgery. Do not smoke at least 6 weeks prior to surgery.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol 24 hours before your surgery
  • Make sure you have the doctor’s contact information
  • Make sure you have directions to the hospital/office for visitors

Approximately 1 hour

Patients usually wake up 10 minutes after the surgery is completed.

Usually in the recovery room, within an hour of your surgery ending.

If you are healthy and has no risk factors, medication to prevent blood clots are usually not necessary.

You will receive IV antibiotic immediately prior to surgery start and additional doses if needed in the recovery room. The antibiotic dosing follows the national surgical site infection protocol.

  • Make sure your identity has been confirmed with name and date of birth
    Yes. Your driver’s license or identity such as OHIP number will need to be verified at your appointment and at the surgery center.
  • Make sure your procedure has been confirmed
    Yes, review the surgery specifics at your preoperative appointment and again the day of surgery.
  • Make sure the correct site of your surgery has been marked
    Yes, you will be marked while you are awake in the preoperative area. Communicate with your surgeon.
  • Make sure the correct side of your surgery has been marked
  • Confirm any allergies and side-effects you might have
    Yes. Please also ask any questions if you need them to be clarifying
  • Make sure you understand and have signed the informed consent forms
    Please tell your surgeon if they may discuss your surgery with your ride home or if a significant other needs to be called.

I usually talk to you in the recovery room as well as with one to two days after surgery in your postoperative visit to explain how your surgery went.

The antibiotics are stopped within 48 hours of surgery.

If you are healthy and has no risk factors, medication to prevent blood clots are usually not necessary.

If there may be a lot of drainage after the procedure, the drain is kept until all of the excess fluid is finished draining out.

You may eat and drink after surgery as soon as you feel well and not nauseated. Start with a soft, bland diet.

This is usually an outpatient procedure and you may leave as soon as you woken up and are ready to go

You need to have instructions reviewed with a responsible adult and meet all discharge criteria.

You will receive narcotic pain pill prescription to fill prior to surgery. You may receive IV pain medication if you need.

Tell the doctor or nurse which pharmacy you prefer. Non-narcotic medications such as Compazine may be sent electronically but narcotic pain medications must be printed and hand delivered to the pharmacy.

Yes, you will receive a list of medications to avoid prior to surgery and initially after surgery. Do not take NSAIDS, ibuprofen, or aspirin until your doctor approves.

Yes, the postoperative instructions will be reviewed at your preoperative appointment. After the initial bandage is removed, apply polysporin or vitamin E to your incisions twice daily.

After 3-7 days into recovery, it is encouraged that you start on stretching and breathing exercises.

A couple of weeks after surgery, as long as the patient feels comfortable and doesn’t experience any tightness/soreness. It should be noted that the patient does not raise her arm above her head during any sexual activity.

Patients can return to their normal routine in a week.

In general, you should not drive the first 48 hours after surgery. Also if you are taking heavy necrotic, one should not be driving. Most of my clients are usually driving after 3 to 4 days.

Patients are seen 1-2 days after their surgery as a follow up appointment.

Most of the sutures used are dissolvable and thus are not needed to be removed

  • Make sure your care providers wash their hands before and after your care
  • Do not wait until your pain is severe before you ask for pain medication
  • Make sure the call button is within reach before medical staff leave the room
  • Sit on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before you stand up to prevent getting dizzy
  • Do not get out of bed without help if you feel weak or dizzy
  • You have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • You have shortness of breath or chest pain
  • You notice increased redness, swelling, warmth, or pain around your surgical incision
  • You notice that your incision is separating or you have infected discharge from your incision
  • Your dressing is repeatedly soaked with blood
  • You have pain that your existing pain medications cannot control
  • Take pain and other medications as prescribed
  • Do not drive when you are on prescription pain medications
  • Do not soak in a bath or go swimming for ten days after your surgery
  • Keep your incision clean and dry
  • Wear a soft, comfortable bra for support
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting as long as your doctor advises
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on resuming normal daily activities
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on resuming sexual activity


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