Benign Breast Surgery

What is benign breast surgery?

Benign breast conditions are growths or changes in breast tissue which are non-cancerous. While they may not be cancerous, these lumps may still be removed to prevent abnormal cell changes and related complications. Benign breast conditions generally present as a lump, cyst or nipple discharge of the female or male breast. Benign breast conditions are more common than breast cancer.

When is surgery needed?

Even though benign breast conditions are not cancerous, some of these conditions may increase your risk of developing breast cancer and are thus removed. You will need to see Dr Ross if you notice or experience any of the following:

  • Pain, tenderness or swelling in the breast
  • A lump felt in the breast or skin of the breast
  • Irritation, redness or scaling or the skin over the breast
  • Pain or retraction of the nipple
  • Discharge from the nipple that isn’t breast milk

In many cases, these can be symptoms of fibrocystic breast changes, which are simply fluid-filled cysts or thickening of the breast tissue that feels firm, ropy, or rubbery. No matter what the cause for the lump, Dr Ross will perform a biopsy and may remove the lump if it is found to be benign. In cases where results are abnormal, Dr Ross may refer you to a multidisciplinary team dealing specifically with breast cancer.

How is surgery done?

Treatment is not needed for fibrocystic breast changes, and they do not increase one's risk of developing breast cancer. Dr Ross may, however, recommend therapies for you. Treatment is available for large and painful cysts through fine needle aspiration (occurs during or after evaluation). After the fluid is drained from a cyst, the cyst collapses, and the pain then goes away afterwards. Dr Ross might recommend removing fibroadenomas of a specific size and intraductal papillomas via surgery. For the treatment of mastitis, warm compression or prescribed antibiotic medication may be used.

What can I expect after surgery?

You might want to practice good breast health by conducting monthly breast self-examination, get screening mammograms and ask Dr Ross to do a risk assessment to see if you are at risk of getting breast cancer.


parallax background

Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence.
It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes
a willingness to try.

Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance


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