Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery MBChB (UCT).
Fellow of South African College of Surgeons
Diploma in Obstetrics & Gynaecology
WHAT IS A Lumpectomy?
A lumpectomy involves the removal of malignant or benign breast lumps. This type of procedure treats early-stage or small breast tumours.
Why do I need a lumpectomy?
Dr Mitchell will suggest a lumpectomy to treat breast cancer in its early stages and remove a benign breast tumour such as a fibroadenoma. She will only consider a lumpectomy if you are comfortable with this procedure.
What is a fibroadenoma?
A fibroadenoma is a prevalent benign breast tumour. The breast comprises three primary forms of tissue:
- Glandular tissue
- The tissue of the ducts
- Fatty and fibrous tissue
A fibroadenoma contains both glandular and fibrous tissue. Fibroadenomas are smooth, rubbery and mobile. These non-cancerous growths develop when you reach a fertile age of twenty or thirty. After menopause, however, fibroadenomas tend to shrink and eventually disappear. Usually, fibroadenomas are harmless, but they can cause discomfort and breast pain. You must consult with Dr Mitchell if you notice changes in the appearance of the fibroadenoma.
There are several different types of fibroadenomas that include:
- Simple and complex fibroadenomas
- Juvenile fibroadenoma
- Giant fibroadenoma
Most of these forms of fibroadenomas are harmless. However, giant fibroadenomas can cause complications. Giant fibroadenomas become large and press against breast tissue. It’s due to its size that these fibroadenomas require surgical removal.
As a breast surgeon, Dr Mitchell conducts a breast exam to check the breasts for signs of lumps and bumps. In some cases, fibroadenomas may be extremely small, and the doctor may not be able to feel them. Imaging tests, however, will be able to diagnose fibroadenomas.
Other diagnostic procedures to evaluate the cause of lumps include:
- Mammography: This test involves the use of x-rays to capture abnormalities in the breast tissue. A fibroadenoma has smooth edges and is distinct in appearance.
- Ultrasound of the breast: A breast ultrasound creates images of the interior of the breast. This test assesses the nature of the lump.
- Needle aspiration: The doctor slides a slim needle into the breast. She withdraws residual fluid from the breast lump. If there are traces of fluid, the lump can be classified as a cyst.
- Biopsy: Dr Mitchell extracts tissue from the lump and sends the sample to the laboratory for further analysis.
Dr Mitchell performs breast surgery to remove the tumour. Should the breast lump be cancerous, the breast surgeon may remove nearby tissue as well as lymph nodes within the armpit. She sends the sample to the laboratory for further analysis.
What does breast reconstruction surgery entail?
Reconstructive surgery remains an option for those who struggle to come to terms with their appearance. Dr Mitchell will discuss breast reconstruction options to improve your self-image.
There are three different types of breast reconstructive surgery that include:
- Reconstruction through the use of breast implants (saline, silicone gel or "gummy bear" implants)
- Reconstruction through the use of your body tissues or Flap procedures
- Nipple and areola reconstruction
The surgeon inserts the implant immediately after a lumpectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction preserves the skin and produces desirable results.
Usually, you can return home the day after the procedure. Recovery depends on your age, previous surgeries and your health status. Generally, it takes about a week or two to recover from a lumpectomy.
It will take some time to adjust to your appearance, but you will eventually overcome this challenge. A combination of reconstructive surgery and therapy sessions suppresses the trauma from breast loss and improves your self-confidence.
Please note: The information provided above and on this website is for education and interest purposes only. It is not intended to replace a personal one-on-one consultation, nor is it meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnose or treat any condition. A consultation with a specialist and qualified health care provider such as Dr Mitchell is essential for correct diagnosis and management, as well as to answer any queries that you may have. Never disregard or delay in seeking professional medical advice due to something you have read on this website. Dr Mitchell takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions present on this website and is not liable for any consequences that may occur from misinterpretation of the information on this website. In the event of uncertainty or an emergency, please visit your nearest casualty.