020 7407 3100

Treatments & Specialties

Breast Care Surgery


As part of its commitment to breast care, London Bridge Hospital carries out a wide range of breast procedures including breast ultrasounds, mammograms and breast cancer treatments. With an experienced team of consultant surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, mammographers, oncologists and specialist breast care nurses we can provide a multidisciplinary approach to all breast care.

Anyone attending the hospital with signs of possible breast problems will receive a rapid assessment. Where required, diagnostic tests will be carried out during the first visit and patients will receive a diagnosis within three days. A specialist breast nurse is present during all outpatient clinics and during any inpatient stay.

Please click on the 'Procedures' tab to see the list of breast care procedures available at London Bridge Hospital. 

Our Specialist Breast Care Nurses also offer an oncology support group. Please do not hesitate to contact Jane Loughnane on 020 7234 2182 for further details.


The following list gives an outline of breast care procedures available at London Bridge Hospital. For a more detailed discussion of what is involved in each procedure you can visit our Breast Care Services website by clicking here


A mammogram is a breast X-ray, usually performed on both breasts so that a comparison can be made. The mammogram machine gently compresses your breast before the X-ray is taken. Each breast is X-rayed from two directions, making four X-rays in all. We usually do not carry out mammograms on women under the age of 35.

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound is a scan of the breast tissue using a hand-held probe, emitting high frequency sound waves, similar to that carried out during pregnancy. Clear gel is used to enhance the contact between the probe and the skin. A breast ultrasound does not replace the need for a mammogram, although it may be used to further investigate a problem seen on a mammogram.

Core Needle Biopsy

This is a breast biopsy, carried out using a special needle that removes a small slither of breast tissue to check for, among other things, breast cancer. A Core Needle Biopsy is usually carried out along with an ultrasound to improve accuracy, and a local anaesthetic ensures that most women do not feel anything at all. There is, however, often some bruising after the procedure. The analysis of the tissue obtained takes around 48 hours. It is sometimes possible to provide a much faster provisional result from a Core Needle Biopsy by taking individual cells from the surface of the tissue (core imprint).

Fine Needle Aspirate Cytology (FNAC)

This is a breast biopsy carried out using a very thin needle. FNAC feels similar to having a blood test and is performed along with an ultrasound to improve accuracy. The needle detaches small clusters of breast cells, which are then placed on a glass slide and examined under a microscope for signs of breast cancer. Results are available within 45-60 minutes.

Stereotactic core needle biopsy

A core needle biopsy (see above), carried out under mammogram control as opposed to the more normal ultrasound control. This procedure is only necessary in cases where the abnormality to be biopsied is not visible on ultrasound.

Axillary node clearance

Axillary node clearance is the surgical removal of lymph glands under the arms that have been affected by breast cancer. This important part of treatment to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning also provides essential information to help decide on the need for drug treatment. The surgery is carried out through a small incision in the affected armpit (axilla). The fat containing the glands is removed. A tube is inserted to drain any fluid or blood resulting from the surgery. The tube is usually removed after 3 days.

Breast reconstruction

Reconstructive surgery that takes place after a mastectomy has been performed, commonly because of breast cancer. The procedure is sometimes performed immediately after the mastectomy and sometimes at a later date. There are several techniques used. Some involve insertion of a silicone implant under the chest wall muscle (submascular implant), others are done by raising the skin and the muscle of the back to provide adequate cover for the implant (LD flap).  It is also possible to use the skin and the fat of the tummy (TRAM flap) or buttock (S-Gap) to reconstruct a breast. These are complicated procedures and discussing them with your surgeon is very important before you decide which one is right for you.

Correction of inverted nipple

This operation, carried out under general anaesthesia, is used to correct an upturned nipple. This condition can occur as a result of the shortening of the milk ducts due to a variety of benign conditions such as chronic infection. A short cut is made at the base of the nipple and the milk ducts are divided, releasing the nipple. A couple of fine stitches are placed to close the wound.

Excision biopsy

A minor surgical procedure, this is carried out under local or general anaesthesia, and is used to ascertain the nature of a breast lump. A small cut is made over the site of the lump. The lump is then removed and a single, hidden, dissolvable stitch is applied. The removed tissue will then be examined for signs of breast cancer and any other possible causes.

Excision of a benign (non-cancerous) lump

A minor surgical procedure, carried out under local or general anaesthesia, this is used to remove a benign breast lump. A small cut is made over the site of the lump. The lump is then removed and a single, hidden, dissolvable stitch is applied. The tissue removed will then be examined as a matter of routine.

Fistulectomy and saucerisation

This is the surgical removal of infected tissue underneath the nipple, where the small opening at the edge of the nipple through which the infection drains is also removed. Often, the wound does not heal well due to the infection and it may become re-infected. In some cases, the wound is left open and allowed to heal by itself.


This is the surgical removal of a majority of the breast tissue. The resulting scar can vary depending on the amount of tissue and skin being removed. Only in exceptional circumstances does the nipple need to be removed. The operation, often the result of breast cancer, is performed under general anaesthesia. Drains are routinely inserted to assist drainage of the fluid and blood. These stay in place for around three to five days.

Modified radical mastectomy

A modified radical mastectomy involves the removal of the breast, plus the removal of all the lymph nodes in the armpit. This is only necessary when there is invasive breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.


A surgical procedure, microdoductectomy is performed under either local or general anaesthesia, and is used to remove a discharging duct. Nipple discharge, particularly if blood-stained, can be a manifestation of breast cancer, albeit rare. The operation involves making a short cut at the edge of the area surrounding the nipple (the areola). The duct is then identified and removed, along with a small amount of surrounding breast tissue. The tissue is then sent for microscopic examination.

Needle localisation and excision

This involves the insertion of a fine wire into the breast to precisely locate an abnormality prior to removal. Performed under local anaesthesia in the X-ray department, the patient will be taken to theatre at a later date, and under general anaesthesia, have the whole of the abnormality removed in a similar procedure to the excision biopsy (see above).

Sentinel node biopsy

This is a surgical procedure which removes lymph node tissue to look for signs of breast cancer spreading from the original cancer site. To know which gland to remove, the surgeon injects a blue dye in the skin of the breast about ten minutes before the operation. Through a small incision under the arm, the surgeon can identify the right lymph glands by the blue colour. The removed glands will be examined under the microscope to determine if a second operation is needed to clear the rest of the glands.

Total duct excision

This is the surgical removal of the milk ducts. Commonly performed under general anaesthesia, this operation is used to prevent unwanted discharge from the nipple (or nipples) occurring. Although usually benign, this can be a socially embarrassing condition. A cut is made at the edge of the areola and all the milk ducts detached from the under surface of the nipple and surrounding tissue.

Tumourectomy/Wide excision

Tumourectomy, or wide excision, is the surgical removal of a cancerous lump. This procedure, usually performed under general anaesthesia, is the same as the excision of a non-cancerous lump (see above), though the surgeon will aim to remove every trace of the growth.

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm
Contact:Appointments line team or visit the website www.londonbreastcentre.co.uk
Telephone:For general enquiries call: +44(0)20 7407 3100
To book an appointment call: +44(0)20 7234 2009
Email: info.lbh@hcahealthcare.co.uk