Partial Breast Radiation

After breast conservation surgery like a lumpectomy, patients typically receive treatment with radiation. In the past, this consisted of treating the whole breast with radiation over nearly two months.

A newer treatment, partial breast radiation, may be just as effective, quicker and less harmful to the remaining healthy breast tissue. During this procedure, radiation is delivered directly to the site of the tumor from inside the breast.

Partial breast radiation is an option for people:

  • with small tumors
  • whose cancer has spread to none or just a few lymph nodes
  • with no history of radiation
  • with recurrent breast cancer in the chest wall, but who are not candidates for surgery


North Carolina Surgery surgeons insert a balloon catheter or Mammosite that will be used for partial breast radiation. The device is a small, soft balloon attached to a tube. It is placed inside the breast at the site of the removed tumor during the lumpectomy or up to 10 weeks afterward.

The device is left there for five to 10 days. During this time, a tiny radioactive seed is implanted through the tube to the balloon for about 10 minutes, and then removed. This usually occurs twice a day.


There are several benefits to having partial breast radiation over the traditional treatment if this procedure is right for you. They are:

  • shorter treatment time
  • improved cosmetic results by conserving the breast
  • a decreased dosage of radiation in the lungs
  • no hospital stay

After the procedure

Side effects after the procedure tend to be mild and include bruising, redness and pain. These usually last anywhere from two to four weeks after the treatment. Scars from the incision typically fade over time.

Our Physicians

The surgeons at North Carolina Surgery are leaders in breast care, providing convenient, timely, personalized services. Our experts high quality, compassionate care. Their goal is to offer education and support to help you make informed decisions about your breast health. We use the safest, most current procedures so you receive the best results possible. We also partner with the UNC REX Cancer Care to provide comprehensive and coordinated care for our breast cancer patients.


For more information about partial breast radiation, visit the American Cancer Society or the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Schedule Your Appointment

Call 919-784-4160 to make an appointment with Drs. Crowley, Dull, Eddleman, or Jendro at the Rex Breast Care Center on Duraleigh Rd.

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