Megan Freedman

What is a lumpectomy?

A lumpectomy is the surgical removal of a cancerous or noncancerous breast tumor. A lumpectomy also includes removing a small amount of normal breast tissue around a cancerous tumor. Other names for breast lumpectomy include partial mastectomy, breast-conserving surgery, breast-sparing surgery, and wide excision. Doctors most commonly use a lumpectomy to treat small, early stage breast cancer tumors in women. Lumpectomy recovery goes smoothly for most patients; lumpectomy recovery time is about a month.

Your surgeon might also remove lymph nodes to test whether cancer has spread. A lumpectomy conserves most of the breast tissue and generally keeps the shape and appearance of the breast. In contrast, a mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast. 

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a 5-Star Cancer Specialist Near You

A lumpectomy for breast cancer is combined with radiation treatment. Hormone treatment and/or chemotherapy may also be recommended.  

A lumpectomy is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have more effective treatment options for your type and stage of breast cancer. You may also have less invasive treatment options for noncancerous tumors. Consider getting a second opinion about your treatment choices before having a lumpectomy. 

Why is a lumpectomy performed?

Your doctor may recommend a lumpectomy to treat breast cancer or to remove a benign (noncancerous) tumor of the breast (fibroadenoma). Your doctor may only consider a lumpectomy if other treatment options that involve less risk of complications have been ineffective. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on a lumpectomy.

Who performs a lumpectomy?

A general surgeon performs a lumpectomy. A general surgeon specializes in the surgical treatment of a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions. Some general surgeons specialize in th