The majority of breast cancer cases will require the patient to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the cancer from the breast. At Breast Cancer Specialists of Louisiana, we offer some of the most highly skilled and respected surgeons in the region who perform specialized breast surgery techniques including Lumpectomy, Mastectomy and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy. Depending upon the individual patient, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy may also be utilized as part of an overall treatment plan to provide the best care possible.
A lumpectomy is a breast-conserving surgery utilized to remove a tumor from the breast – along with a small amount of normal tissue surrounding the tumor to help ensure that all of the cancer is removed. The procedure is referred to as “breast-conserving” because only a portion of the breast is removed (unlike a mastectomy, which may remove the entire breast).
Lumpectomies are typically performed when cancer is present in the breast but has not begun to spread. Some patients who undergo a lumpectomy may also have some of the lymph nodes under the arm removed at the same time. In certain cases, the lymph nodes may be removed in a separate procedure. Once removed, the lymph nodes are biopsied (dissected and examined under a microscope) to determine whether they contain cancer cells.
A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the breast is removed in order to remove cancerous tissue. Patients who undergo a mastectomy may consider having breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild the shape of the breast. The reconstruction may be done at the same time as the mastectomy or at a future date. There are three different types of mastectomies as follows.
Total Mastectomy Also known as a “simple mastectomy,” this procedure involves removing the entire breast. Patients undergoing a total mastectomy may also have some of the lymph nodes under the arm removed in order to be biopsied to determine if cancer cells are present. This may be done during the mastectomy or as a separate procedure at a later date. Modified Radical Mastectomy This is a surgical procedure in which the entire breast is removed, along with most of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles and sometimes part of the muscles in the wall of the chest. Partial Mastectomy A partial mastectomy is a procedure in which the part of the breast that has cancer is removed, along with some of the surrounding normal tissue.
This is similar to a lumpectomy – however, more tissue is removed during this procedure. In addition, the lining over the chest muscles below the cancer may be removed during a partial mastectomy. Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy This procedure involves the removal of the sentinel lymph node – which is the first lymph node that receives lymphatic drainage from a tumor. This is important in that the sentinel node is the first lymph node that the cancer is likely to spread to.
The sentinel node is identified by injecting a radioactive substance and/or dye into the area around the tumor. The first lymph node where the dye shows up is then removed (this is the sentinel node). The sentinel lymph node is then biopsied to determine if cancer cells are present. This helps the surgeon to determine if the cancer is spreading and whether or not more lymph nodes need to be removed. Following the biopsy of the sentinel lymph node, the surgeon proceeds to remove the tumor.
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The Breast Cancer Specialists is a group of leading breast detection, oncology, surgery, and reconstruction experts in the Acadiana region.