During a clinical breast exam, your doctor will check both breasts for lumps, masses (fibroadenoma), and other problems. Sometimes the lumps will be too small to feel, so imaging (mammography, breast ultrasound) will be required to detect them. Once these masses are revealed, sampled, and analysed, surgery may be required to remove them.
Most cases of fibroadenoma will not need surgery – indeed, there are many reasons why a woman may choose not to go with surgery: distortion of the shape of the breast, the masses will go away on their own, or the size of the mass remains stable. However, some women may choose to undergo breast mass removal surgery simply for peace of mind, or under the recommendation of their doctor.
A doctor may recommend surgery when the mass appears to be abnormal or if the mass is extremely large and growing, or causes other symptoms (discomfort, pain, etc.)
All surgeries, whether they be big or small, carry risks. For a benign breast mass removal surgery, these typically include:
Risks of Surgery
You may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems. You may be advised to stop smoking or go off certain medication before your surgery.
A benign breast mass removal is done on an outpatient basis (you will be able to go home after the surgery is completed). Before your surgery, a nurse or doctor will plan the site, clean the affected area, and consult with you for any questions you may have. Then, you will be brought to the operating room and be put under general anesthesia by our anesthetist.
The procedure itself usually takes around an hour to perform. Typically, your doctor will give you a heads up on how long the procedure should last.
There are numerous types of breast-saving procedures, however the most common type of procedure for fibroadenoma removal is called a lumpectomy. During a lumpectomy, your surgeon will operate with an electric knife that reduces the risk of bleeding. They will then use that knife to make a curved incision in the breast to locate and remove the mass. Sometimes, a draining tube will be used to remove excess fluid where the lump used to be. Once the procedure is complete, your surgeon will stitch up the incision and a dressing will be applied.
Recovery time for a lumpectomy will vary, but you should feel back to normal within a few days to weeks. Be sure to keep the area clean and dry to avoid the possibility of infection. Itchiness or soreness is common, however let your doctor know if you experience swelling or excessive pain.
You will need to arrange for a ride home the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home. When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.
You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Oftentimes we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.
Did you know we have a support group?
Your questions and concerns have most likely been asked and answered in our support group. Moderated by our dietitian's, nurses, and staff. We provide you with reliable patient education and resources to help you throughout this life-changing process.