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What is breast-conserving surgery?

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

Patients who have stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer may undergo breast conserving surgery in which only a lumpectomy or a partial mastectomy with radiation and possible axillary lymph node dissection is performed. As a result, the remaining portion of the breast as well as the nipple areolar complex will be conserved allowing for a more normal appearance of the breast. Patients who have positive margins and require reexcision may require a complete mastectomy with radiation therapy. It is most important that the pathological diagnosis of the specimen and the surrounding margins of the tissue be evaluated. It is most important that all cancer be removed rather than preserving tissue. However, in cases in which a small amount of tissue, including stage 1 or 2 breast cancer is found, a lumpectomy with axillary lymph node dissection and radiation may offer an excellent final appearance to the breast with a simple reconstructive surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.