Please note a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.
About breast surgery
At Mater Private Hospital in Dublin we perform surgery for many different types of breast lumps. 80% of all breast lumps are benign, which means they are not cancerous.
The main goal of breast surgery is to remove the lump, as well as the nearby margins (surrounding tissue) which may also be cancerous.
Benign breast lumps often do not need to be treated unless they are particularly large or painful, or are getting bigger. Some may even improve in time without any treatment. If a benign lump is particularly large or is getting bigger, surgery may be carried out to remove it.
There are many common causes of benign breast lumps. These can include normal changes in breast tissue, breast infection or injury, as well as medicines that may cause lumps or breast pain to develop. The types of breast lump that can develop include:
These are fluid-filled sacs. They can occur in both breasts, can be single or multiple, and can vary in size. The degree of tenderness and lump size often changes with the woman’s menstrual cycle.
These are small, wart-like growths in the lining of the breast near the nipple. They usually affect women between age 45 - 50 years old. They can also produce bleeding from the nipple.
This is a condition which occurs when there is an injury to the breast. However, many women do not remember a specific injury. This results in fat to form in lumps; they are generally round, firm, hard, single, and painless.
Fluctuations in hormones during normal monthly menstrual cycles can create changes in the breasts known as fibrocystic breast changes. These are lumps in both breasts which increase in size and tenderness prior to menstrual bleeding. Women can also experience nipple discharge.
Fibroadenomas are the most common benign tumours found in the female breast. They are solid, round, rubbery lumps that move freely in the breast when pushed upon and are usually painless. Fibroadenomas are the result of excess formation of lobules (milk-producing glands) and surrounding breast tissue. They occur most often between the ages of 20 - 30 and are more common in African-American women.
Types of breast surgery
If a breast lump is not benign and requires surgery, there are a number of options available depending on the extent of your condition:
A lumpectomy removes the cancerous tumour along with a rim of potentially healthy tissue around it (known as the margins) without removing the entire breast. The main advantage of a lumpectomy is that it can preserve much of the appearance and sensation of your breast. It is a less invasive surgery, so your recovery time is shorter and easier than with mastectomy.
A mastectomy removes the entire breast, or as much of the breast tissue as possible. If removing the entire breast would help you worry less about the possibility of the breast cancer coming back (recurrence), you might wish to consider a mastectomy.
In addition to a lumpectomy or mastectomy, your doctor may wish to remove and examine your lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread and if so, to what extent. If those lymph nodes are affected by cancer cells, then the rest of the lymph nodes in that area will need to be removed during another operation called a lymph node clearance. However, if no cancer cells are found in the sentinel or guard nodes, a further operation will not be necessary.