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Patient Experience: Lumpectomy

30th April 2021 by Pam Canning Education

Copy of What Is A Lumpectomy

What was your experience of the period just prior to your lumpectomy?  Was everything explained to you about the type of procedure, options available and what to expect from recovery?

I’ve had 2 lumpectomies - one with my primary and one after I had a local recurrence that occurred around there same time as my secondary diagnosis.

The first lumpectomy or wide local excision with sentinel node removal as the medics call it was to remove a small lump that I had found in my left breast.  The surgery also removed some of my nodes to check if there was any spread. 

The hospital explained exactly what the procedure would entail at my pre op appointment.  

Before the surgery I had to have an ultrasound to put a clip in so the surgeon knew where the cancer was.

During surgery I was injected with blue dye to help them find the sentinel node/nodes.


What was your experience of the time just after the procedure?  Did you find recovery difficult?

When I woke up in recovery I was very sore almost like I’d been hit by a double decker bus. I told them this and they gave me some morphine and that helped. 

They kept me in overnight. I was very sick all night as me and anaesthetics don’t go well and also very blue with the dye.  The surgeon in the morning said he thought I had an opiate overdose so I don’t get morphine anymore as I also had an allergic reaction.

I had bought lovely new jammies with a matching kimono and I didn’t even get to put them on as I was sick all night.  My work friends thought this was funny as I had been going on about my special jammies . 

My surgery was on Thursday and  I was back at the footie on the Saturday. It was a local derby so couldn’t be missed and we won. 

My recovery was very straightforward.  I had to be careful not to carry too much on that side for 4 weeks.  My wounds were looked after by the treatment room at my GP.  The wounds were glued together,  the one on my breast was hardly noticeable however the one under my arm is a bit larger.

Because I’ve had my nodes removed on my left side I don’t let that arm be used for anything not even to get my blood pressure taken.   


How are you now further on from the procedure?  Did you have any complications or side effects from the procedure?

It wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a complication and after about 4 or  5 years my scar got really tight and my breast was quite misshapen. 

I was offered a scar revision and a fat transfer to fill the breast out a bit more.  The fat transfer involved liposuction from my tummy area.  

The scar revision itself was straightforward but I wasn’t prepared for the painful recovery from the liposuction, I had very large bruises all round my tummy and right round to my back.  It felt very draggy and took at least a couple of weeks to start to get better.