Breast conserving surgery

Breast conserving surgery is also referred to as a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy or Wide Local Excision. Most women who have breast conserving surgery will be recommended to have radiotherapy treatment afterwards.

What is Wide Local Excision or Lumpectomy?

A wide local excision is the surgical removal of a tumour, mass or suspicious tissue along with a surrounding margin of normal tissue. It is performed to remove a lump or mass from the breast and is also referred to as a lumpectomy.

Surgical Procedure of Wide Local Excision

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. The mass is excised and sent to the laboratory where its margins are observed and should ideally be free of cancer cells. Cancer cells in the margin indicate that the tumour has not been completely removed and a repeat surgery may need to be performed.

Hook-wire localisation of Breast Lesion

If your breast lesion is not palpable Dr Gordon-Thomson will arrange for you to have your lesion localised before your surgery. This is done in a radiology practice. Under local anaesthetic, a small incision is made in your breast through which a thin wire is passed down to the lesion. Then during surgery, the wire is used as a guide by Dr Gordon-Thomson to locate the area of abnormality that needs to be removed. An incision is made over the tumour or the area that contains the wire.Dr Gordon-Thomson then removes the tumour along with a small layer of surrounding tissue and sends it to the lab for investigation. At the end of the procedure, the incisions are closed with sutures and a soft dressing is placed over the surgical area.

  • University of Cape Town
  • King Edward VII's Hospital
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Royal Hospital for Women
  • prime wales hospital
  • BreastScreen Australia