The aim of the operation is to take out the tissue with a narrow rim of normal breast. We do this through a cut in the skin over or near the affected part of the breast. We choose a place that will heal neatly. We send the tissue to the laboratory for examination under a microscope.
You may have a general anaesthetic during the operation, but you should be able to come into hospital and go home on the same day. Sometimes the operation is done with the breast skin numbed with local anaesthetic. You would be awake during the operation but feel no pain.
If the lump or cyst is removed, it should not cause you any more trouble. Any doubts about the breast lump should be made clear by the operation and the examination of the tissue.
Are there any alternatives?
Most swelling and cysts can be safely left in the breast if they pass three tests:
- The swelling should feel all right to the specialist.
- The x-rays and scans should not have revealed any concerns.
- Microscopic examinations of the tissue should not raise any concerns.
If your particular swelling is getting bigger, or causing you discomfort and anxiety, you should have it removed.
X-rays and scans will not tell us any more about the tissues in the breast. Taking tissue samples with a needle has not given the answer. Treatment such as antibiotics or hormones is not a good idea, if we do not know what the cause of the problem is.
What if you do nothing?
If there is any doubt about your breast problem, and you do nothing, the problem will remain. We will not be clear what is going on. You may miss out on important treatment.
Author: Mr Michael Edwards FRCSEng FRCSEd. Consultant general surgeon.
© Dumas Ltd 2006