Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Lumpectomy- what to expect?


Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Below is my experience...


Finished chemo on 20 July (I'm HER2+ so got chemo first).

Signed my consent form for Wide Local Excision (WLE) and sentinel node biopsy (SNB) on 7 August.  Surgery was booked for 6 September - although I didn't get the letter about it until 3 days before!  I was also told that surgery should be 31 days after consent form signed, when I rang to chase appointment.


On the afternoon before surgery, I went in to have my nodes located.  This was a radioactive injection into my boob, near the nipple - I was worried about this but it barely hurt and way less painful than a local anaesthetic!  Then a series of pictures and scans (you just lay there and try to keep still).  The technician then drew three X's where my nodes were (this might be 1, 2 or 3 nodes, you won't know until the start hunting for then).  This is usually done on the same day as the op but sometimes the afternoon before.


On the morning of surgery, I went to the breast unit to have my wire localisation.  I needed 2 wires inserted into the tumour (back and front) as it was quite big and quite deep.  Boob was clamped down (like on a mammogram) with loads of pictures taken and then when the technicians were sure where to go, I had an anaesthetic injection and then the first wire was pushed into place.  This was then repeated for the second.  The wires look like guitar strings and are ridiculously long - I have no idea why so much is needed on the outside but they were taped down.  I was then sent to wait outside, whilst the doctors looked at all the images and wrote their report for the surgeon.  I got called back in as they decided they wanted a third wire.


Once that was all done, I went back up to the surgery area and got changed into my gown and attractive stockings!  Walked down to the theatre and had my general anaesthetic.  I came round in recovery a couple of hours later.


My surgeon always keeps WLE patients in over night, so I knew to expect that.  I felt a bit sick when I stood up to go for a wee once I was on the ward.  I remembered about the blue wee!!  And the blue boob!!


I went home at 10:00 the following morning (last Friday) and have not needed any pain killers at all,  I went to my local parkrun on Saturday (with strict instructions not to run, so did a brisk walk).  My boob is smurf blue above and around the nipple and it deffo looks smaller and perkier that my other one.


I should get the results of the surgery in two weeks (are there clear margins around the removed tumour and are there any cancer cells in the nodes) which will determine if I need more surgery or pass directly to "go" and radiotherapy.


Sorry - that's a heap of info but I hope it helps someone?


Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hi  I have a date for my surgery, 10 October  a month after my last chemo . So I will be visiting this site for what comes next.   Looking forward to reading all that is posted. Thanks 


Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Sorry I may not have typed clearly, I do have a date, in 7 weeks, but they do not know what the lump is which is what is worrying.

I work in a school and am teaching for the first year, so was curious about rough recovery times. It seems I will have the last two weeks of term off and then an extra half term week to recover....mainly trying not to get knocked by 5 year olds to be fair is my worry.

Thanks for your experiences. It really does help.

Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hi Looby Lou
I’m very surprised that you are still awaiting a confirmed date for your lumpectomy. As far as I am aware, Hospitals have strict timescales to perform breast surgery . My local hospital confirmed their timescale was within 31 days from date of diagnosis.

I agree with the comments made by Appletree and would certainly contact either your assigned breast care nurse or the surgeons PA as what they do is put your details on a waiting list as soon as you consent to having surgery . 7 weeks is very long and wondering whether you have been missed off the waiting list or there is a long waiting list of ladies awaiting treatment

I would suggest you take action and speak to the persons concerned , their elective admissions team will contact you to arrange a date for the ore op assessment which can be up to a week before general surgery date .

The lumpectomy is normally carried out the same time as the sentinel node biopsy as one operation . They will perform a wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy which is performed under general anaestetic . Surgery is normally done as a day surgery and you will be able to go home later in the day once you have recovered from the an aesthetic
If you don’t have anybody to pick you up from hospital and care for you once discharged they will make provision to book you in as an inpatient and discharge you the following day .

Healing / recovery periods after surgery differs per person and they normally say 2-4 weeks providing there are no complications or don’t develop any seratomas ( fluid swelling build up ) underarm or haematomas ( blood filled swelling ) otherwise like me who developed the latter I was in recovery for 6 weeks then started to feel better.

I hope this helps .. be kind to yourself .. waiting is one of the worst parts . Hopefully having contacted the hospital they will be able to speed things up for you .

Big hugs and let us know how you get on. Xxx

Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hi Lou,

A quick rundown from me! I had my lumpectomy as a day patient and under a general. It was a long old day and a bit of touring round the different departments but the NHS is a well oiled machine and i just went where i was told. (Thankfully had my partner with me, star that he is.)
Started with a pre-op with one of the nurses and got issued wrist tags and lovely surgical socks. After that a trip to some department or other where they injected me with dye, so as to trace the line of my lymph nodes. I had 3 removed in the end. After that it was off to the breast clinic to get marked up via ultrasound and feeling. (My blip was very near the surface and could be felt by everyone. Literally.
After that it was back to the inpatient dept and was kitted out for surgery.
My procedure was done late in the day as i had a temperature for some reason, so they did some investigation before they'd put me under. No idea what it was but had a temp of 38.7 Maybe it was getting hot and bothered walking to all the departments!!!
Surgery was 2 hours with 2 hours in recovery.
They took the blip and nodes and patched me up before sending me home. The next day the nurse came to visit to check my dressings and go through the arm exercises. I was pretty mobile already and i put that down to yoga.
I spent the next dat resting then the day after went for a 3 mile walk with my partner and my mum, as i just wanted to get out.
I think its just the tiredness from being knocked out and the emotion of it all which drains you. But looking back, it really was very straight forward and painless. Just a bit of discomfort at worst.
Sorry to go on, but that is the edited version!!!!

Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hi Looby lou


It's Emily here from Breast Cancer Care. 


Thank you for sharing, and it's understandably an anxious time as you're having surgery but still don't have a diagnosis.


While you're waiting for responses on here, I thought I'd let you know that we have a few email volunteers who have had a wide local excision (they've all had a breast cancer diagnosis) and would be happy to share tips and their experiences about the operation itself:


Donna (47): donna@breastcancercare.org.uk 

Anita (52): anita@breastcancercare.org.uk

Zahida (36): zahida@breastcancercare.org.uk


I hope this helps.

Best wishes

Emily at Breast Cancer Care


Re: Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hello Looby.lou88


Have you a phone number you can contact for more information? You presumably had a letter of appointment for your recent visit to your consultant; if it gives the consultant's secretary's number that might help. His sec could almost certainly tell you whom you need to contact, if she can't give information. It sounds as though you need to contact someone in the hospital for a clearer indication of what to expect.


Different consultants in different hositals will do things differently, so you really need information from you own breast care team. Different ladies here have had different experiences.


As far as I know, lumpectomies are usually carried out under general anaesthetic, although often as a day patient if you have someone at home to look after you overnight. If you live on your own and there is no-one to stay with you, if you have a general anaesthetic, they are obliged to keep you in hospital for a night.


Once you get your surgeon's letter, that should certainly give you his/her secretary's number, so I would phone up and ask to speak to someone who can give details. They could also advise on booklets you can read.


Waiting is one of the worst parts of this. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some nice teats to keep your spirits up.




Lumpectomy- what to expect?

Hi all,

I found a lump in my breast which is inconclusive on the imaging after my referral to the breast clinic. The consultant was not sure what the lump was and couldn't biopsy due to a large amount of blood vessels, I would have bled and bruised extensively. So he is removing the lump with margin to be able to then examine and test/biopsy it, with the ability to control bleeding.

He booked me in straight away in his diary, still waiting for my letter through the post (this was ate Tuesday) for a lumpectomy now 7 week's.

I'm pleased it's coming out, since it will answer what it is...But it is scary not knowing what it is exactly at the minute!

I don't know however what to expect at all about the surgery! I didn't think to ask much! He said that I would be done in day surgery and that he would pimento do under a local anaesthetic. That worries and in itself. My mum pointed out I was awake to two c-sections but somehow this seems different!

Could anybody fill me in on the op and any post-op tips, or recovery information?

I know I'll be up the hosp again for a pre-op but I don't know when yet so I will get more information then, but I need some now to help me understand.

Many thanks.