Related Video: Mastectomy Lumpectomy



Lumpectomy is the removal of part of the breast. It is considered a breast-conserving surgery.

Lumpectomy may be combined with a procedure to sample lymph nodes in the area (axillary dissection or sentinel node biopsy).

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Accumulation of blood in the wound
  • Accumulation of clear fluid in the wound
  • Lymphedema—swelling of the arm caused by accumulation of fluid in lymph nodes
  • Infection
  • Numbness of the nipple or underarm skin
  • Change in the size and/or shape of the breast
  • Blood clots
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Recent or long-term illness
  • Use of certain medications
  • Characteristics of the tumor to be removed



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Partial Mastectomy; Segmentectomy; Tylectomy)

To see an animated version of this procedure, click Procedure InMotion .


American Cancer Society 

Breast Cancer 


Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation 

Canadian Cancer Society 


Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated September 14, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.

Exercises after breast surgery. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated June 19, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2014.

Lumpectomy. Surgery Encyclopedia website. Available at: Accessed November 26, 2014.

Lumpectomy: What to expect. Breast Cancer website. Available at: Updated September 17, 2012. Accessed November 26, 2014.

1/22/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance : Torres Lacomba M, Yuste Sánchez MJ, Zapico Goñi A, et al. Effectiveness of early physiotherapy to prevent lymphoedema after surgery for breast cancer: randomised, single blinded, clinical trial. BMJ. 2010;340:b5396.