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A lumpectomy is the removal of a mass or tumor from the body. Some masses are benign, which means that they do not spread or invade other tissues. Others can be malignant, which means that they can spread to other areas of the body, invade surrounding tissues, and are more likely to recur after removal. Often, we cannot tell if a tumor is benign or malignant just by looking at it even after it is removed. Therefore, we recommend sending masses to the histology lab where a sample of the mass is observed under a microscope to determine the origin of the mass and whether it is benign or malignant.


What is the difference between the words mass, tumor, cancer, and neoplasia?

Neoplasia is the abnormal growth of cells or tissues within the body. The words mass and tumor are used interchangeably to describe the swelling or physical appearance of a neoplasm. Neoplasia can be either benign or malignant. Only malignant neoplasms are truly cancers.


What should I expect on the day of my pet’s surgery?

On the day of surgery, we ask that you bring your pet to the clinic between 8-8:30AM. We do allow check-in the night before surgery if this is more feasible for your schedule. Please let us know at the time you schedule your pet’s surgery if you would like to drop your pet off the night before. Your pet should be fasted for at least 8 hours and no water after midnight the night before surgery. You should bring any medications that your pet is taking so that the medications can be continued while at the clinic. If your pet is on a prescription diet, please bring enough food for two meals. When you bring your pet for surgery, the office staff or a technician will have you sign an admissions form and provide a contact phone number for the day. It is very important that you be accessible via this phone number in case the veterinarian needs to contact you in regards to your pet.

Your pet will have a quick exam to check their vital signs when they arrive for surgery. If your pet requires any bloodwork prior to surgery, we will perform it at this time. Surgeries are typically performed in the late morning and early afternoon. Each pet has a customized anesthetic protocol designed for their specific breed and health condition. After your pet’s surgery is complete, a veterinarian or technician will call to let you know how the surgery went and when your pet can go home.


How is my pet monitored during surgery?

The heart rate, respiratory rate, and SpO2 (or blood oxygenation level) is monitored during surgery. In addition, a veterinary technician and veterinarian are present at all times while your pet is anesthetized.


Is my pet given pain medication after the surgery?

Yes, your pet will receive an injection of pain medication during their surgery which will last for 24 hours. Your pet will also be sent home with an oral pain medication for you to give your pet for several days after the surgery.


Are there visible stitches after a lumpectomy?

This depends on the location of the mass that is removed, Sometimes the veterinarian will bury the stitches, which means that they are not visible and will dissolve away on their own. These stitches do not need to be removed, In some cases, the veterinarian may place skin sutures or staples that are visible. These will be removed after 2 weeks.


What are the benefits of using the CO2 laser for a lumpectomy surgery?

We recommend the use of the CO2 laser for some lumpectomy surgeries while for others we may recommend the basic scalpel surgery. This is dependent on the location of the mass and the risk for hemorrhage or bleeding. The CO2 laser cauterizes blood vessels and nerves instantly while the incision is being made. This can be especially beneficial for masses that have a large blood supply and are at greater risk for hemorrhage. The use of the CO2 laser reduces bleeding, swelling, and pain associated with the surgery. Some masses are located in areas where the use of the CO2 laser is not feasible. In these cases, we will recommend the basic scalpel surgery,


What special care does my pet need after surgery?

Monitoring the lumpectomy incision for any swelling, discharge, or discoloration is important. The incision should improve in its appearance after your pet is discharged. If you notice any changes to the incision, please contact our clinic right away.


After your pet’s surgery, you should limit their activity for 7-14 days depending on the veterinarian’s recommendation. They can go outside on a leash to use the bathroom and can go for short leash walks. Running, jumping, and playing with any housemates should be prevented. These activities will put strain on the incision site and could lead to complications. Outdoor cats should be confined in a kennel, garage, shed, or barn during this time to minimize these activities and to help maintain a clean environment.


You should make sure that your pet does not lick or scratch at the incision site. If your pet does lick or scratch at the incision site, please contact the clinic so that we can supply you with an e-collar to prevent licking. If we notice that your pet is licking at the incision while they are hospitalized, we may send home an e-collar. E-collars should be left on at all times to prevent your pet from licking or scratching the incision. In addition, make sure that any housemates do not lick your pet’s incision site, otherwise you should keep the pets separate.


How long does it take to get results from the histology lab?

The histology lab typically provides results on submitted masses in 7-14 days. There may be delays over holidays, The results are faxed to the Bourbon Veterinary Hospital when they are available, and we will contact you with the results.


What happens if my pet’s mass is malignant?

Treatment for a malignant mass or cancer is very dependent on the type. In some cases we may recommend additional tests at the lab on the submitted mass to better identify the cancer or to provide a “stage.” We may recommend radiographs of the chest or a biopsy of lymph nodes to look for evidence of metastasis or spread of the cancer. Additional surgery may be recommended or even chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some types of cancer can be cured while others can only be managed to prevent spread, prolong life, and keep your pet comfortable as long as possible.


What is the success rate?

This is dependent on the type of neoplasia. Benign tumors often have a 100% success rate after they are removed. Malignant tumors will vary depending on the type, size, and whether the cancer has spread to other places in the body. Our veterinarians will discuss therapy options with you after receiving the results from the histology lab and will discuss the success rate of treatment options.


Is neoplasia preventable?

Unfortunately, the cause of most neoplastic diseases is unknown. Spaying or neutering your pet can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, such as uterine, ovarian, mammary, and testicular cancer. Early detection and treatment of tumors when they are small is one of the best ways to manage neoplasia.

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