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Lumpectomy is a common surgical procedure designed to remove a breast cancer from the breast. The cancer itself is removed, preserving the remainder of the breast. Compared to a mastectomy, a lumpectomy is considered a viable means of “breast conservation” or “breast preservation” surgery with all the attendant physical and emotional advantages of such an approach. The goal of the lumpectomy is to obtain clear margns while preserving a cosmetically pleasing breast. The margin, or edge of the lumpectomy specimen, is examined by the pathologist after final fixation, generally a couple of days after surgery. However, obtaining clear margins at the initial surgery is not always successful. Nationwide, 30% of women undergoing lumpectomy have positive margins and need to return to the operating for additional resection. Of course this means that 70% are successful and need only one operation. Negative margins are more likely in patients with larger breast and smaller tumors because the resection can be more generous.
Dr. Liberman utilizes state of the art oncoplastic techniques. This means that after removing the cancer at lumpectomy, plastic surgery flap techniques are utilized during the same procedure to provide an optimum cosmetic outcome.
Almost all patients undergoing lumpectomy will need radiation therapy. The most common form is whole breast irradiation. This starts 3 weeks after surgery. It is given by a radiation oncologist, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. It does not make hair fall out nor does it make one nauseated. However, one may feel fatigued and there may be skin changes and a chance of superficial burns to the skin. Another option is the Mammosite. This is localized radiation therapy, also called brachytherapy, and is delivered in only one week.