What Is Involved in Lumpectomy Recovery?

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  • Written By: B. Chisholm
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Lumpectomy recovery begins after the surgery, initially in hospital and then at home. It includes plenty of bed rest, the use of analgesia where necessary, avoidance of heavy lifting or driving and, later on in the recovery period, gentle exercise. A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure, performed in hospital under general anesthetic, to remove a lump and some of the tissue around it from the breast. The lump may be breast cancer or a benign tumor.

When a lump is found in the breast it may be necessary to remove it, depending on whether it is benign or malignant. Should a woman feel a lump in her breast, urgent medical intervention should be sought to establish the cause. The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. If the doctor feels surgery is necessary, many women opt for a lumpectomy or breast preservation surgery.

The lumpectomy will be performed in the hospital and the majority of lumpectomy recovery will occur at home. After surgery the patient may spend a night or two in the hospital before discharge. Analgesia will be administered where necessary and pain control plays an important role in lumpectomy recovery. The patient will be discharged with painkillers to be used at home, when necessary. Prescribing instructions should be followed closely.


During lumpectomy recovery the patient should get plenty of rest as this allows healing to occur. Driving and lifting of heavy things should be avoided until the surgeon gives the okay to resume these activities, usually within two to three weeks of surgery. The surgeon will show the patient gentle exercises to prevent stiffness of the arm, which should be performed daily. A supportive bra or vest should be worn.

Wound healing forms a large part of lumpectomy recovery and the wound should be kept clean and dry. The stitches or staples used to close the wound are normally of the dissolving kind and generally don't require removal. Some swelling may be seen along the incision, which is normal. Should the wound become red, hot or severely painful, or the patient develop a fever, they should seek medical help as it may have become infected.

Resuming normal activities after lumpectomy recovery may take up to eight weeks and differs from person to person. Any activity which causes discomfort should be avoided until full healing has occurred. Depending on the occupation and necessary activities at work of each patient, they may be in recovery between four and eight weeks.


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