Breast Surgery (Lump/Mass, Breast Cancer)

Surgical Associates of Marshall County offer treatment for breast cancer, including the leading methods in minimally invasive breast surgery in Albertville and Guntersville.

For those afflicted with breast cancer, surgery is used to remove tumors as a part of more comprehensive cancer treatment. At Surgical Associates of Marshall County, our expert surgeons specialize in safe and effective methods of breast surgery with a focus on eliminating cancerous tissue while conserving as much of the breast as possible.

When is Breast Surgery Needed?

Breast cancer results from abnormal growths in the tissue of the breast. The most common form is ductal carcinoma, which forms in the ducts that transport milk from the breast to the nipple, while the less common lobular carcinoma starts in the milk-producing lobules of the breast.

Because breast cancer typically does not produce symptoms, especially in the early stages, regular examinations are important to ensure that the breasts are cancer-free. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may indicate that you need additional screening for breast cancer:

  • Fluid. The nipple may discharge fluid that is bloody, pus-like or clear.
  • Lumps. A hard, uneven lump may be felt in the breast or armpit. These are usually painless.
  • Changes in breast structure. The breast may become red, dimpled or have other changes in its feel, size or shape.

When signs like these appear, diagnostic tests may be performed like:

  • CT scan
  • Mammography
  • PET scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy

What to Expect from Breast Surgery

When breast cancer is discovered, the type of surgery performed will depend on the extent of the disease’s spread and severity.

  • Lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery, removes only the cancerous lump and its surrounding tissue, leaving the remainder of the breast intact. Lumpectomy is often accompanied by radiation therapy to avoid recurrence and is usually not an option when two or more cancerous areas in the same breast make removal via one incision impossible. Lumpectomy is also used to remove noncancerous tumors (fibroadenoma).
  • Partial mastectomy, also known as quadrantectomy, removes about one quarter of the breast tissue. Like lumpectomy, it is often accompanied by radiation therapy.
  • Total mastectomy refers to the removal of the entire breast and nipple. In those at high risk, both breasts may be removed (double mastectomy). Reconstruction of the breasts can be performed at the time of surgery or later.
  • Modified radical mastectomy (MRM) involves the removal of the entire breast and the nearby lymph nodes, but does not remove the pectoralis major, a large chest muscle. MRM is now considered preferential to the similar radical mastectomy.
  • Needle biopsies are a type of screening examination done in your physicians office with the aid of ultrasound. A specimen of breast tissue is removed and taken for identification by a pathologist.
  • Stereotactic needle biopsy is another screening examination completed in the hospital as an outpatient procedure. The cancerous portion of the breast is biopsied with the aid of computer 3D localization.

Most individuals receive a combination of treatments and may be given a choice between needle biopsy, lumpectomy and mastectomy. Your surgeon can help you decide which surgical option will be best for you.

Anesthesia is typically used for breast surgery, which means that you will unable to feel pain throughout the procedure. The length of your recovery and hospital stay will depend largely on the operation performed. Needle biopsies and lumpectomies are often be completed in an outpatient setting, while mastectomy typically requires a one to two night hospital stay. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to aid in your recovery.