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Breast Biopsy or Lumpectomy of the Breast - Surgical Procedure


breast cancer awareness ribbonEarly detection of breast cancer and possible cancerous lumps in the breast is paramount to successful treatment and could be the difference between living a long life and not.  Breast cancer awareness and regular checkups are necessary to find potential problems such as lumps and other anomalies that could be related to the early onset of cancerous growths.  Regular self exams are an important beginning point and regular mammography at the suggested frequencies is also important for successful treatment, should the worst case become reality.


During a yearly mammogram checkup, the nurse noticed a small lump while doing the manual exam and then a small shadow was also seen during the actual test in my wife’s left breast.  Because of the inconclusiveness of the mammogram, it was decided that an breast ultrasound was needed to get a better look at what they were feeling.  Two small lumps were found during this procedure and a follow up appointment was scheduled with a surgeon to discuss the options available.


During this visit, the options provided were two.  The first option was to leave it alone and just monitor it over the next six months.  The second option was to have a breast biopsy or lumpectomy and have the two nodules removed.  While neither option was an easy choice to make, my wife opted to have the surgery done while the lumps were very small and less likely to be a problem or very treatable if there were something malignant found.  This is where my wife and I differ, as I would likely have opted to wait and see what they did, but as is usually the case with my wife, she makes the more logical and intelligent decisions when it comes to these types of issues.  Even when I needed my carotid artery surgery, which put me at extremely high risk for a stroke, it was her that convinced me to have it done as I preferred to just “let it ride” because of a silly fear I have of surgery.  She always knows best and that’s why I love her so much.


The surgical procedure itself in her case comprised of two steps, due to the very small size of the lumps.  The first part of the procedure was to have small wires and some dye inserted by the ultrasound technician to guide the doctors to the correct location of the nodules.  This is to prevent excessive surgical incisions or size of incision to find the limps that needed to be removed.  After injecting a local anesthetic to numb the area and while using ultrasound equipment to find the lumps, a small needle is inserted into the breast tissue to the location of the lump, where a small amount of dye is injected to mark the area and a small wire inserted through the needle act as path for the surgeon to follow to the correct site for the removal process.


The second part of the procedure is the surgery itself.  A low grade anesthesia is used for this procedure which makes recovery post surgery a little quicker, but you are asleep for the procedure itself.  A small incision is made near the site of the wire insertion and the surgeon proceeds to remove the lump and a small amount of the surrounding tissue.  How much tissue is removed is at the discretion of the surgeon and depends on what he sees once the lump is found.  He will remove the smallest amount of breast tissue he safely feels is needed.  Once the lump(s) are removed, the incision is closed with small sutures and you are sent home the same day after surgery, as it is most often an out-patient procedure.  The excised tissue is sent of pathology for analysis and you usually will have the results no more than week later and usually sooner.


If everything is negative, nothing further is done and you will continue to be monitored as before with self exams and regular

mammograms to watch for reoccurrence.  I something malignant is found, you will usually be referred to an Oncologist for follow up treatments and those can vary depending what was found and the type cancer it is, from as little as nothing more if they felt they got all of the affected tissue, to more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.



breast cancer awareness ribbonEarly detection is the key and regular checkups can be the difference between this fairly simple procedure and having to endure much more aggressive ones.  Breast cancer awareness is key and early detection is a necessity for you to be a breast cancer survivor and not another statistic.


Written by: WM8C, June 28th, 2006.  Not for use without written permission


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