Breast surgery can be done for benign or malignant processes. Many times, a biopsy may need to be done to differentiate between the two. Breast biopsies entail a small needle being inserted through the skin of the breast and taking a sample of the underlying tissue. This can be done by multiple providers including radiologists or surgeons. This is usually done with guidance by ultrasound or by a mammogram.
What should I expect for a benign breast condition?
A benign process like a breast lump or a breast cyst may simply be watched for abnormal growth or change in breast contour. If the lump is enlarging, bothersome, painful, then a breast lump or cyst excision may be performed. This is done with a small incision in the breast and removal of the lesion. Typically, small lesions removed will cause very little deformity. Larger lesions being removed may cause some dimpling, asymmetry, and worse long-term cosmesis.
What should I expect for a malignant breast condition?
A malignant process almost always is taken care of with surgery. This may mean a breast lumpectomy or a mastectomy. A lumpectomy involves removing the cancer and a small rim of normal tissue around the tumor. This limits the degree of disfigurement caused by surgery. A mastectomy involves removal of almost all the breast tissue on the affected side along with the skin envelope. This leaves a flat chest and a long linear scar. Both procedures are acceptable treatments for breast cancer. Typically, a lumpectomy is bundled with radiation to the chest to equal the effectiveness of that of a mastectomy. Breast cancer survival rates are similar regardless of the initial procedure chosen, either lumpectomy or mastectomy.
What is lymph node staging?
In addition to the lumpectomy or mastectomy for cancer of the breast, lymph node staging must be performed. This entails removal of a few small lymph nodes from the arm pit. The lymph nodes are a surrogate marker for the aggressiveness of the cancer. If the lymph nodes are positive for cancer, then there is a good chance that chemotherapy would be necessary.
Breast disease and breast cancer are a confusing subject and frequently involve multiple steps for definitive diagnosis and treatment. Rest assured that we are fully trained and capable of managing all forms of breast disease and cancer.
Kind words from our patients
“Dr. Rodney Biggs and his staff are wonderful! Always efficient, polite and very easy to work with. Dr. Rodney Biggs explained the procedure and results in a format that is very easy to understand. My family has used his medical expertise for many years. Thank you for continued excellence in the surgical field.“