Biopsy of Breast or Breast Lump Removal
Breast lump removal is surgery to remove a lump that may be breast cancer. Tissue around the lump is also removed. This surgery is called a lumpectomy.
When a noncancerous tumor such as a fibroadenoma of the breast is removed, it is often called an excisional breast biopsy, instead of a lumpectomy.
What to Expect
- A radiologist will use a mammogram or ultrasound to place a needlewire (or needlewires) in or near the abnormal breast area.
- This will help the surgeon know where the cancer is so that it can be removed.
Breast lump removal is done as an outpatient surgery most of the time. You will be given general anesthesia (you will be asleep, but pain-free) or local anesthesia (you are awake, but sedated and pain-free). The procedure takes about 1 hour.
The surgeon makes a small cut on your breast. The cancer and some of the normal breast tissue around it is removed. A pathologist examines a sample of the removed tissue to make sure all the cancer has been taken out.
- When no cancer cells are found near the edges of the removed tissue, it is called a clear margin.
- Your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes in your armpit to see if the cancer has spread to them.
Sometimes, small metal clips will be placed inside the breast to mark the area of tissue removal. This makes the area easy to see on future mammograms. It also helps guide radiation therapy, when needed.
The surgeon will close your skin with stitches. These may dissolve or need to be removed later. Rarely, a drain tube may be placed to remove extra fluid. Your doctor will send the lump to a laboratory for more testing.