Susan A. Seedman MD, FACS, PC Aiding in the Fight Against Breast Cancer Breast Specialty Care
 
 
  About Surgery

Surgery includes the spectrum of office and operating room procedures that may be used to evaluate and treat breast conditions, benign and malignant.

Risks and benefits of surgery

Benefits

  • Diagnosis sampling the tissue allows us to determine the nature of the abnormality in the breast tissue or lymph node. Most of the time diagnosis can be made from a very small sample of tissue. Occasionally, the whole mass may need to be removed for an accurate diagnosis to be made.
  • Treatment- there are many conditions for which surgical procedures are necessary as part of the plan of treatment

Risks/Possible side effects/complications of these procedures most of these are unusual and subside with time. Some require medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, stool softeners; and drainage of any collections. Among the possible risks are:

  • Allergic reactions to cleaning solutions, anesthetic agents, suture materials, dressings, tapes and medications used. Among these reactions are itching, redness of the skin, hives and blisters.
  • Bleeding that may lead to hematoma (collection of blood in the wound), ecchymosis (black and blue discoloration of the skin), or bloody nipple discharge.
  • Seroma formation (collection of clear fluid in the wound)
  • Infection that may lead to cellulitis (redness or swelling of the skin around the incision) or abscess (collection of pus in the wound)
  • Pain that may be sharp , dull, shooting, tingling, burning, continuous or intermittent in the area of the surgery and may persist for a few days
  • Numbness in the area of the surgery, breast, chest wall or axilla
  • Scar formation that may be thicker than usual (keloid or hypertrophic scar), indents the skin, pulls the nipple in or distorts the appearance of the breast, chest wall or axilla.
  • Reactions to analgesic medications (pain killers) including nausea, vomiting and constipation
  • Lymphedema (fluid within the tissues of the chest wall or arm). This may develop at any point after removal of lymph nodes. In most cases, it becomes a chronic condition that if left untreated can be quite debilitating.