Lumpectomy is the most commonly performed type of breast cancer surgery and is often referred to as breast conservation surgery. Unlike a Mastectomy, which removes the entire breast, a Lumpectomy only removes part of the breast, consisting of the cancerous region and some of the normal surrounding breast tissue, to ensure all of the cancer is eradicated.
Although Lumpectomy is a significant advancement in breast cancer treatment surgery, the procedure can still leave the patient with undesirable cosmetic results, depending on how much of the breast tissue had to be removed. Many women will not require Lumpectomy reconstruction if their breast cancer surgery did not require significant tissue removal. For some however, Lumpectomy surgery may leave the patient with a malformed or asymmetrical breast. The individual may be left with a scar and dimple where the cancerous tissue was removed instead of the smooth, full contour their breast used to have.
For patients who opt for breast conservation surgery, Lumpectomy reconstruction may be performed soon after their breast cancer surgery. Women with a greater volume of breast tissue tend to make better candidates for reconstruction after Lumpectomy. Women with smaller breasts who might have more significant breast distortion may go on to have completion Mastectomy or flap reconstruction for improved cosmetic results.
For Lumpectomy reconstruction candidates, as long as the surgical margins are clear of tumor and the excision is large enough to cause a significant defect after radiation changes are complete, then reconstruction can be completed utilizing flaps, which are made of local skin and fat, or by using tissue from the abdomen. It is important to remember that radiation changes can and often occur over the course of three years. So, a lumpectomy defect that is small and initially acceptable can change over time and may create an undesirable deformity.
See our Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy page for more information between the two procedures.