Breast Conserving Surgery

This treatment involves surgical removal of the cancerous portion of the breast, with a margin or rim of healthy tissue surrounding it. The remaining breast is conserved.

Other names which are commonly used for this surgery include wide local excision or lumpectomy. If the breast cancer cannot be felt by Dr Adams, a hookwire is used on the day of surgery.

The surgery is done under general anaesthetic and usually takes between one to one and a half hours. It can be done as either a day surgery or with a single night stay in hospital. Most women recover quite quickly from surgery. There may be pain but usually this is not severe, and pain relief will be given to you prior to discharge from hospital. Bruising and tenderness of the breast is common. The hospital breast care nurse (link to be provided) will make contact during your hospital stay to provide information and support

The breast will look different after breast conserving surgery. There will be a scar and sometimes there can be a change in the size or shape of the breast. Dr Adams is very conscious of the cosmetic appearance of the breast after surgery. In suitable patients she uses oncoplastic techniques to improve the appearance of the breast during breast conservation surgery.

The tissue excised is sent away to a pathologist who looks at the tissue under a microscope and provides a report. This histology report gives important information about the type of tumour, the grade, the hormone receptors, any special features and the surgical margins. This process takes several working days so is not available during the operation.

Dr Adams will meet with you approximately one week after surgery. At this appointment a general review is undertaken and your histology or microscope report is discussed. The report helps to guide further treatment decisions.

In some cases, further surgery is needed. This is usually if the tumour has not been all removed or if the margins are inadequate, i.e. there is not enough healthy non-cancerous tissue surrounding the tumour. This is often a targeted surgery through the same scar where a small amount of further breast tissue is removed, but in uncommon cases a mastectomy is required

Other treatments which may be required include:

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