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Is Lumpectomy Major Surgery?

Doctor consulting stressed woman and answering: is lumpectomy major surgery?

Lumpectomy describes a procedure which removes cancer from the breast. It should not be confused with mastectomy, the partial or complete removal of the breast. Is lumpectomy a major surgery? With a lumpectomy, only the tumor and a small rim of surrounding tissue are removed. This leaves the general shape of the breast and nipple intact.

Radiation is usually given after lumpectomy to get rid of any cancer too small to be seen on mammograms. The lumpectomy plus radiation Survival rate is the same as with a mastectomy.


Candidates for lumpectomy are in the early stages of breast cancer. Lumpectomy may also be used to remove certain precancerous or noncancerous breast abnormalities.


According to the Mayo Clinic, these patients are not good candidates for lumpectomy:

  • Patients with a history of scleroderma. This describes a group of diseases that harden the skin and make the lumpectomy healing process difficult.
  • Those with a history of systemic lupus erythematosus. This is a chronic inflammatory disease that worsens under radiation treatment.
  • If you have two or more tumors in different quadrants of your breast and they cannot be removed with a single wide excision. This may affect the appearance of your breast.
  • Patients who have previously undergone radiation treatment to the breast region.
  • Those with cancer spread throughout the breast and overlying skin. A lumpectomy would be unlikely to completely remove cancer.
  • Those with a large tumor and small breasts. The chances of poor cosmetic results increase.
  • Patients who don’t have access to radiation therapy.

Lumpectomy Results

One goal of a lumpectomy is to preserve the natural shape and look of the breast. Dr. Miltenburg knows from experience that even small lumpectomies can result in significant deformities. The immediate cosmetic result can be good. But over time, radiation and scarring can cause puckering, shrinking, and dimpling. These deformities can be difficult to fix without removing the breast and starting from scratch. In the past, patients had mastectomy and reconstruction to avoid this problem.

Oncoplastic Surgery

Those asking themselves, “Is lumpectomy major surgery?” may also be asking themselves, “What are my cosmetic options?”. Oncoplastic surgery can make your breasts look better than they did before cancer treatment. Oncoplastic surgery is frequently done together as lumpectomy. You can usually go home the same day. A breast surgeon does the lumpectomy and a plastic surgeon does the oncoplastic surgery. In an oncoplastic procedure, the surgeon rearranges the noncancerous part of the breast tissue. The goal is to create symmetry in your breasts.

Scenarios for Oncoplastic Surgery

If you have a large lumpectomy, Dr. Miltenberg can use your own breast tissue to fill the cavity created by the excised lump. Your breast tissue has its own blood supply, making it a healthy and strong filler.

If you have large breasts and have breast reduction surgery, the surgeon can perform a lumpectomy at the same time. The surgeon would use the same incision.

Lumpectomy can be performed together with a bilateral breast lift. The surgeon would use the same incision.

If you have gone through lumpectomy and radiation and are unhappy with the cosmetic outcome, there is a solution. Oncoplastic surgery can resolve many issues that arise.

Houston Breast Cancer Surgeon

Is lumpectomy major surgery? Yes, that is where Dr. Miltenburg comes in. Dr. Miltenburg at Breast Health Institute Houston is Houston’s #1 Breast Cancer Surgeon. Dr. Miltenburg treats breast cancer and other diseases of the breast. She uses state of the art imaging, genetic testing, and pathology for early detection. Dr. Miltenburg provides only evidence-based treatments which leave her patients looking better than they did before. Get the best care from the top breast cancer surgeon in Houston — Contact Dr. Miltenburg at Breast Health Institute Houston today!

Mastectomy vs. Skin Sparing Mastectomy

breast surgeons in Houston

A mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast. It is usually a procedure that women need after a breast cancer diagnosis. There are several different types of mastectomy, including total mastectomy, skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and a double mastectomy. Here we will discuss the most common mastectomies. If you are looking for breast surgeons in Houston, look no further than the Breast Institute Houston. With state of the art breast cancer treatment options, we aim to make this journey as painless as possible for you.

Total Mastectomy

A total mastectomy removes the entire breast. This includes the nipple, areola, and skin, as well as some surrounding lymph nodes if necessary. This surgery, while serious, does not usually require a hospital stay post-surgery. A double mastectomy removes both breasts. Our breast surgeons in Houston recommend this procedure if there is a high risk of cancer returning.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy

The skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy, abbreviated as SNSM, is popular because it allows patients to keep most of their natural breast. The goal is to keep their skin and nipple while only removing the cancerous tissue within. The remaining breast tissue is more easily augmented and tends to lead to more aesthetically pleasing reconstructive surgery.

According to, this surgery makes more sense for women who have caught their cancer in the early stages, because it is smaller and more concentrated since it hasn’t spread. For larger tumors, cancer cells normally hide behind the nipple. This requires a higher risk surgery as there are likely cancer cells in the actual nipple.

A skin-sparing mastectomy does not come without any complications. The nipple may not adjust well to its new surroundings and shrink or become deformed. This may be due to a lack of blood supply. There may also be significantly less feeling in the nipple because the nerves have been cut during surgery.

Women with larger breasts may have improper placement of the nipple after the reconstructive surgery, so often doctors recommend this option to women who have small to medium sized breasts. Women with smaller breasts do not have as much scarring as women with larger breasts will. Although the skin-sparing mastectomy will offer less scarring than a total mastectomy, there will still be visible scarring.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy

is similar to the aforementioned skin-sparing surgery, however, only the nipple is left. This is only an option once the doctor has checked the nipple and found no cancer cells. If there are any cancerous cells, the nipple must be removed.

The radical mastectomy is much more extensive, where the surgeon moves the entire breast and surrounding areas, including lymph nodes in the underarm and pectoral muscles. It is not very common anymore unless there are tumors growing under the pectoral muscles. The double mastectomy is the removal of both the breasts. This is usually preventative surgery for women who have cancer in one breast, but a high risk of cancer returning in the other breast.

If you have caught your breast cancer in early stages, you may be eligible for breast-conserving surgery, also commonly referred to at BCS.

Breast-Conserving Surgery

Breast-conserving surgery is an option for women who were able to detect their breast cancer in the early stages. While this surgery is less invasive, it does not necessarily lower rates of survival if combined with radiation. BCS can be equally as successful if circumstances are right.

There are many reasons women choose mastectomies over radiation or BCS. Often women who receive mastectomies are unable to receive radiation therapy or have chosen to opt for the more extensive surgery for more mental clarity, have large tumors, or tumors that are about the same size of the breast. If you are looking for breast surgeons in Houston, reach out to Dr. Miltenburg as soon as possible.

How to Read Your Mammogram

breast mammogram in houston

Getting routine breast exams is an important task for women that is often swept to the way-side. Many people avoid going to a doctors office altogether because they’re scared of receiving bad news. However, mammograms are extremely important because they help detect breast cancer early on. Reading a mammogram is difficult and always best explained by a radiologist or your doctor. It’s important to know what you are looking for and what it may mean for your health. Here’s a better look at how you can better read your own mammogram in Houston.

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Can a Benign Breast Cyst Turn into Cancer?

can a benign breast cyst turn into cancer

According to, about 25% of breast masses turn out to be cysts. Cysts are round or oval organic structures filled with fluid. Many people think we can feel all breast cysts through the skin. Although this is true of many cysts, some are so small they are only detected with diagnostic imaging. A cyst that you can feel OR seen through imaging is a “gross cyst.” Still, some cysts are so tiny that they are virtually undetectable until they grow.

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The Link Between Infertility Treatment and Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer and Infertility

According to, fertility treatments seem to affect breast cancer risk in younger women who succeed in conceiving. These findings are from a July 12, 2012, study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Women whose fertility treatments resulted in conception were found more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not conceive.

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The Stages of Breast Cancer Explained

Breast cancer affects one in four women, and it can be daunting to understand all the different stages and treatment options that are available; especially if you have been recently diagnosed. To help you through the specifics of all the different breast cancer stages and what they mean for your personal treatment plan, the Breast Institute Houston has put together an informative piece to walk you through every stage of breast cancer. Find an attentive and highly recommended breast cancer specialist in Houston when you contact the Breast Institute Houston to schedule your first appointment today.

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Are You Considering Breast Reconstruction?

“Today, a woman should end up having prettier breasts than she had before being diagnosed with breast cancer.” — Breast Health Institute Houston

Recovery from breast cancer treatment is not what it used to be. With breast reconstruction in Houston offered by Darlene M. Miltenburg Md, FRCS(C), FACS you will achieve the best possible aesthetic results in a caring, understanding, and informative environment.

Although breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can be a complicated and sometimes risky undertaking, Dr. Miltenburg believes all patients deserve to be considered. Dr. Miltenburg discusses surgical options with patients, regardless of age, co-morbid conditions, cancer stage, geographic location, insurance coverage, etc.

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Feeling Beautiful with Breast Cancer

breast cancer surgeon in Houston

A diagnosis of breast cancer means many changes to the body you know and love. Working with your breast cancer surgeon in Houston through each stage of treatment and recovery, you must learn to adjust to new changes in your appearance. Many of these changes will be temporary; some will be permanent. During this time of upheaval, taking time to appreciate your beauty as it is not only comforting but can positively impact your health and well-being.

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Undergoing a Breast Biopsy in Houston

A biopsy is a sample of body tissue your doctor takes for the purpose of examining it more closely. Most people have heard about biopsies of lesions, tumors (also known as cysts,) or other masses which are suspected to be cancerous. A doctor should order a biopsy when a test suggests an area of tissue isn’t normal. In some cases, a biopsy of normal-appearing tissue may be done to check for cancer spread.

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