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
- 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.