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Breast Surgery And The Various Procedures Used

By Jerri Perry


Women that suffer from breast cancer normally have tumors within both or one breast. Breast surgery is the procedure that can be used to remove such tumors and thus prevent further growth. A number of options of treatment are available, for instance mastectomy and breast-conserving surgeries. The option of reconstruction can be considered during or after treatment is done with. During the surgical operation also, lymph nodes under the arms are checked to ensure there is no spread of cancerous cells to them. Two procedures are used to do this checking; axillary lymph dissection and sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Surgeries for breast conservation are also known as partial mastectomy. It involves getting rid of parts of breasts that have cancerous cells. The size of portions removed will be dependent on size and location of the tumors. There are instances when radiation therapy would have to be given after surgical operation, in which case surgeons will place small metallic chips within the breasts. The function of these is to mark areas that will undergo treatments through radiation. The chips will show in x-rays.

During the procedure known as lumpectomy, the lumps in breasts are removed, in addition to the margins in the surroundings. The margins consist of normal tissue. Radiation treatments are scheduled after lumpectomy. If in any case adjuvant chemotherapy is to be given, then surgeons will delay radiation therapy until after chemotherapy.

In comparison with lumpectomy, in quadrantectomy more tissue is removed. In fact, one quarter of the breast gets removed, hence the name. Radiation is done after that. If however chemotherapy needs to be given as well, then the surgeons will delay radiation until the chemotherapy is completed.

If cancerous cells are present at tissue edges of the removed sections, these are said to have positive margins. Conversely, if no such cells are present then these margins are said to be clear. The presence of positive margins will require that more tissues are removed because it would mean there still are cancerous cells left. This is done in a procedure that is preferred to as re-excision. In case such margins are unable to be properly cleared through removal of tissues, then more advanced procedures come into play. The most used procedure in such cases is mastectomy.

Discussion of the possible side effects with the surgeon or doctor beforehand is highly recommended. The side effects that can be experienced include tenderness, pain, temporary swelling and development of hard scar tissues. Bleeding is also a possibility, just like is the case with any surgical procedure. These should be known before going for the procedure.

Change in shape of breasts is a big possibility in the case that large portions of breasts are removed. This will require that the patient goes for reconstructive surgery. The unaffected breasts can also undergo reduction in size so that symmetry is achieved. The reduction in size can be done in the course of the initial procedure.

When considering breast surgery, it is essential to meet the doctor or plastic surgeon beforehand so as to have an idea of how breasts will appear after the procedure. It is then that one may discuss options that are available for correcting any anomaly. Patients will be more confident.




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