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!

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