Benign Breast Lump Excision

Detecting a breast lump can be scary, but not all breast lumps are cancerous.  There are various reasons for a person to develop breast lumps and a majority of them are non-cancerous.  According to a study, eight out of ten breast lumps are harmless (benign).  Having said that, it should be understood that people should seek immediate medical opinion if there is a new lump or there are changes in the existing lump.

Common benign breast lumps are fibroadenaoma,fibroadenosis,benign phylloides,breast abscess,cysts

More often than not, breast lump does not require treatment, but to reduce one’s anxiety and to be sure it is not a troublesome lump one can opt for lump excision.  The excised lump needs to be sent for histopathological examination to be sure about the nature of lump .Before proceeding on to a breast lump excision, the doctor may ask the patient to get some imaging tests such as mammogram, MRI or ultrasound.  These tests can throw light on the details of the lump and its surrounding tissue..In a person who has low risk factor for breast cancer, doctors may advise to monitor the lump and periodically check the lump in a clinical setting.  However, doctors may suggest a breast lump excision if they are doubtful of the lump’s potential to develop into a cancer.

On the imaging if the results are bordering on a breast cancer, to make a precise diagnosis, doctors may recommend a biopsy, in which case a small amount of the lump is removed to look for its cause.  Biopsy is the only way to diagnose a breast cancer conclusively.  The following are the major biopsies:

  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • Core needle biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy
  • Lymph node biopsy

A breast surgeon can carry out numerous procedures to excise a breast lump .Before zeroing in on a breast lump excision, the surgeon will explain the appropriate options to the patient.  A number of factors influence a surgeon’s decision to choose a surgical technique, some of them are size and location of the tumor, breast size, whether the disease has spread and whether the individual is compliant with the surgery.  The goal of the excision or lumpectomy is to remove the lump and some healthy tissue around the site of concern. 

Preparation for breast lump excision:

If a breast lump excision is proposed and if you are willing to undergo the surgery, before the surgery you should tell the surgeon about any allergies and medications you take, which includes over-the-counter medications and supplements.  You should mention if you are pregnant or if you are trying for a child.  Your surgeon may advise to stop taking blood thinners up to a week before the surgical intervention in order to cut down the risk of infection.

How a breast lump excision is performed?

1. It’s a daycare procedure

Before surgery, you will change into a hospital gown and be administered anesthesia.  If the choice of anesthesia is local, you may be given a sedation to relax during the procedure.  In the case of a general anesthesia, you will be in a painless sleep during the entire length of the procedure.  Operation is begun by first locating the tumor.  During the excision, the surgeon may place a metal marker or clip near the site.  If a clip is used, a thin wire will be used to locate the lump so that surgeon can spot the exact location.  Subsequently, the lump and some healthy surrounding tissue are excised.  The lump is then sent to a lab for examining.  Once the lump and the surrounding tissue are removed, the wound is closed with stitches and then bandaged.

2. After breast lump excision:

Once the procedure is complete, you will be sent to the recovery room.  Your vital signs are closely monitored once you are out of the sedation of the anesthesia.  On waking up, you can expect some pain in the breast area.  You will be put on painkillers to control the pain.

The week following surgery, you have to limit your activities.  It is important to follow the post-surgery instructions given by the surgeon.  Once you are discharged to home.  The stitches may dissolve on their own or your surgeon will take them out during a follow-up appointment.

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