Breast Surgery maybe indicated for diagnosis or therapy for benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancer) disease.
Most diagnostic work is now done by radiologists using X rays or ultrasound for imaging, together with needles to sample (biopsy) target areas. Occasionally on open surgical biopsy may still be required, to confirm a diagnosis or remove a benign lump.
Surgery for breast cancer is still the pre-eminent curative therapy. This may include wide local excision or mastectomy for breast, and sample or clearance of the lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla).
These procedures require anaesthetic, usually a general anaesthetic, which induces unconciousness, administered by specialists.
All therapy, especially surgery can be accompanied by complications. These can be of a general nature such as feeling sick following anaesthetic, or more specific such as nerve damage from an operation. The risk associated with procedures is an important part of consent, the process of informing a decision.
The use of drains is an important part of breast surgery. All wounds leak body fluids, the most obvious is blood, and drains are tubes used to evacuated such fluids from a wound cavity.