To help us continue to improve our service, this web site uses cookies. They cannot be used to identify you. Using this site implies an agreement to continue accepting them. For more details please see managing the cookies we use.  

Patients & Visitors

Breast Unit

Wide Local Excision (Lumpectomy)

On this page:

The Operation Complications After Care

The Operation

This operation involves removal of a breast tumour that can be easily felt (as well as some of the lymph nodes in the armpit if required).

The operation to remove the tumour is termed a wide local excision (or ‘lumpectomy'). It is undertaken under a general anaesthetic.

This entails an incision in the skin of the breast, which in general is either sited over the tumour itself or at the margin of the areola. The surgeon then dissects underneath the skin to above where the tumour is situated and removes the tumour (a lumpectomy) with a rim of normal breast tissue surrounding it.

The operation takes in the region of 60 - 90 minutes to perform

back to top


This is not a big or a difficult operation and if combined with a sentinel lymph node biopsy the patient should be able to go home either on the same day or one day following the operation.

The breast may become quite bruised and swollen following the operation. In the long run it may also alter the size, shape and the contour of the breast somewhat, although we would hope that this would not be too marked.

Most patients do not have complications following this operation, but a small percentage of people may have them. These include the possibility of a wound infection or bleeding into the wound to form either a haematoma or extensive bruising.

back to top

After Care

Following discharge from the hospital a further appointment is made to come back to the breast unit to check the wounds and to discuss what has been found down the microscope and what further treatments are necessary to reduce the chances of the tumour coming back in the future.

As long as we find that the tumour has been adequately excised then patients are normally offered a course of radiotherapy to the breast to reduce the risk of local recurrence of the tumour in the years to come.

There is a chance that the pathologist might find that the tumour is larger down the microscope than we had anticipated. If that was the case then perhaps the margin of excision would be insufficient and we would suggest further surgery to her breast to achieve an adequate margin of excision. The chances of this happening would be approximately in the region of 20 – 30%.

Also See:

Needle Localised wide local excision

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

Duct Excision

Therapeutic Mammaplasty

Mastectomy without reconstruction

Reconstructive Surgery

back to top