Breast lump removal


Wide local excision (lumpectomy)

Breast lump removal, also known as a lumpectomy, allows the lump to be examined and checked for cancer


Breast lumps are common. Most are benign (non-cancerous) cysts or areas of fibrous tissue that aren't cancerous. Lumps that don’t go away naturally or cysts that keep coming back may need to be surgically removed. This means the lump can also be examined and checked to make sure it’s not cancerous.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This type of operation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep.

    Your surgeon will make a cut in your breast to remove the lump. They'll then close the area with stitches. Some of the tissue surrounding the lump may also be removed. This is known as a wide local excision. Once the lump has been removed, the tissue will be examined under a microscope to check if it is cancerous.

    The operation usually takes an hour and can often be treated as a day case, so you may not need to stay overnight.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how to prepare and answer any questions you may have about the procedure.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

    You should be able to go home the same day but some people need to be cared for in hospital overnight. You won't be able to drive so you should bring someone with you to help you get home afterwards. It's good idea to bring a soft cup bra with you to wear afterwards.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    Your results will be ready within 24 hours. You'll have a follow-up appointment with your consultant to discuss the results.

    Before you leave the hospital, your consultant or breast care nurse will give you aftercare advice. If you have dissolvable stitches, they'll disappear on their own.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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