What is Lumpectomy Repair?
Lumpectomy is commonly recommended for early stage breast cancer. This approach can be appealing to women battling breast cancer as it represents an opportunity to minimize surgery and preserve the affected breast. For a lumpectomy to be effective, it requires a series of radiation treatments following the surgery.
Lumpectomy/Radiation treatment plans are often referred to as “breast conservation therapy.” However, it is not uncommon for a lumpectomy, particularly after associated radiation, to leave the breast smaller, distorted, or even overtly deformed. This is particularly true for women with smaller breasts.
Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy
A lumpectomy with radiation can produce subtle or even dramatic size and shape differences compared to the healthy remaining breast. The side effects of radiation and concern for long-term problems from exposure to the associated energy beam have also contributed to an emerging trend away from lumpectomies and towards mastectomies with immediate reconstruction. Nipple preserving mastectomy, combined with elegant and sophisticated immediate resonstruction, has contributed to this increased popularity.
A study published by JAMA Surgery in 2014 revealed that in the past 10 years, more U.S. women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, who were eligible for lumpectomy, chose mastectomy or double mastectomy and breast reconstruction instead.
The tremendous improvement in breast reconstruction techniques and surgical artistry has allowed women to choose removal of all of the diseased breast tissue and, many times, avoid radiation treatment, and its side effects, along the way. The availability and use of Nipple Sparing Mastectomy further supports the decision for mastectomy when combined with the advanced breast reconstructive techniques pioneered and perfected at The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery.
For women who’ve undergone a previous lumpectomy and suffer from resultant deformity or asymmetry, the comprehensive clinical experience and wide range of pioneering procedures perfected at The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery provide solutions to restore shape and balance to the breasts. Solutions range from the simplest of approaches to the advanced options of Stacked FlapSM, SGAP, APEX FlapSM, and DIEP breast reconstruction techniques. The surgeons at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery are experts in all forms of reconstructive breast surgery, a necessity when approaching complex situations such as lumpectomy repair.
When is Lumpectomy Repair Performed?
Lumpectomy repair is used when the breast is left scarred, small, or distorted after the removal of tissue from the lumpectomy and the radiation treatments that follow. Lumpectomy repair can also correct the other side effects of radiation including disfigurement or hardness in the breast.
What are the Benefits of a Lumpectomy Repair?
There are several benefits of Lumpectomy Repair breast reconstruction. Correction of persistent deformity and imbalance with the opposite breast can restore wholeness and add to the quality of life. Improved symmetry can make dressing easier and restore options in sportswear and swim attire.
The recreation of the breast with soft, warm, living fat is permanent and doesn’t require maintenance imaging or repeat surgeries. For women who’ve undergone lumpectomy in the past, the DIEP, SGAP, Stacked FlapSM, and APEX FlapSM procedures can deliver a lifetime solution for the unexpected problems that can occur with “breast conservation therapy.”
There are several reasons why many women elect to have a mastectomy over lumpectomy and radiation. One major benefit to undergoing a mastectomy is the complete elimination of ductal tissue from a breast that has demonstrated a tendency towards cancer formation. In addition, radiation and all of its side effects can often be avoided if a patient opts for a mastectomy over lumpectomy.
Modern reconstructive techniques that allow for full recreation of a breast with living tissue, while fully preserving muscle structure, include the DIEP, APEX FlapSM, SGAP and other variations of “perforator flap” technology. These advances, pioneered at The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, give sophisticated solutions to women affected by breast cancer.
What to Expect Throughout the Lumpectomy Repair Procedure
PRE-SURGERY OFFICE VISIT
In most cases, you will be seen in our office 1-2 days prior to your surgery. At that time, we will go over the planned procedure, review consents, answer any questions you may have, and apply any surgical planning markings as may be required.
When you arrive at the hospital, you will be escorted to the preoperative holding area where you will change into a gown and be given foot coverings. The nurse or anesthesiologist will start an IV so that fluids and necessary medications may be given to you. Family members will be allowed to visit with you in the preoperative area once you are prepared for surgery.
After your surgery is complete, you will awaken in the recovery room under warm blankets with a dedicated nursing attendant at your side. You will be carefully monitored and kept comfortable. You will then be transferred to a private inpatient room that is prepared to allow you to rest and recover under the supervision of your attending physician and nurses. One adult caregiver may stay with you overnight during your hospitalization. A fold-out Murphy bed has been integrated into your room for their individualized comfort.
Your procedure will be performed in a state-of-the-art operating suite that is part of a fully accredited hospital that has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons for Excellence in care quality. Highly trained professionals using the most modern equipment and techniques will attend to you. In addition to your surgeons, the surgical team includes anesthesiologists, operating room technicians, nurses, and physician assistants.
You will experience some changes that are quite common after surgery and may include:
Some mild swelling and bruising is to be expected after surgery and will gradually subside in a few weeks.
Some soreness is normal after surgery but we will provide medications to maximize your comfort and help speed your recovery. Intermittent muscle spasms and feelings of tightness are normal and will subside as your swelling subsides .
Scar lines tend to improve in appearance for up to a year and are usually faded by 12-18 months.
Some numbness in the skin is normal after surgery. Occasionally the recovery of sensory nerves can result in tingling, itching, or mild electrical sensations that come and go. These sensations will resolve over time and are usually accompanied by some return of feeling in the skin.
You may resume your normal activities as recommended by your surgeon. In most cases, avoidance of strenuous activity is recommended for 4-6 weeks. As a general rule, most patients can drive between 2-3 weeks after surgery if you are no longer using pain medication and your doctor has cleared you. It is recommended to perform gentle stretches for the shoulders beginning in the early weeks after your procedure. Your clinic team can provide specific instruction for a post-mastectomy range of motion exercises as applicable. You should maintain the full range of motion within the early weeks post-operation. Patients are generally released to return to full activities and work schedule between 4-6 weeks after surgery. Your clinic team will provide any necessary documentation for your employer.
Returning Home Post Lumpectomy Repair
If you are traveling from out of state or internationally for care with us, your caregiver will need to be with you throughout your stay post-discharge and on the same flight home to assist you in the airport. Your caregiver’s education will be provided by our nursing staff during your time with us and our team is available to you and your assistant 24 hours/day should any questions arise after you are released from the hospital. Your arrangements for assistance after surgery should include an estimated seven to ten days of availability from your caregiver.
The Team at Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is Here for You
Be reassured that you are being attended to by some of the most highly skilled and dedicated healthcare providers in the world. Do your best to relax knowing that we are going to take excellent care of you from the moment you enter our facility. Do not hesitate to ask for any special needs you may have.