What is a lumpectomy?

A lumpectomy usually removes the least amount of breast tissue. The surgeon removes the cancer and a small portion or margin of the surrounding tissue, but not the breast itself. Even though the lumpectomy is the least invasive breast cancer surgery, it can still be very effective, and further surgery may not be needed.

What happens when more tissue needs to be taken?

A partial mastectomy requires the surgeon to remove a larger portion of the breast than in the lumpectomy — perhaps a whole segment or quadrant of tissue — in order to eliminate the cancer. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove some of the lining over the chest muscles as well.