A mastectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the breast in patients with breast cancer. Because all the breast tissue cannot be completely removed, there is still a chance of recurrence. After treatment, there may be anywhere from a 5-7% chance the tumor may come back in the skin or muscle of the chest wall.
Types of Mastectomy
There are several different mastectomy procedures:
- Subcutaneous mastectomy - removes the entire breast but leaves the nipple and areola. This is commonly performed on men for gynecomastia. This is not a breast cancer procedure.
- Total mastectomy - removes breast tissue, nipple and areola.
- Modified radical mastectomy - removes breast tissue, nipple and areola, and lymph nodes in the adjacent axilla or arm pit. Skin sparing and nipple sparing procedures are considered if appropriate.
- Radical mastectomy - removes underlying skin, lymph nodes and chest muscles. This is only performed if tumor invades muscle and the muscle must be excised.
- Prophylactic mastectomy - total mastectomy for patients with a high genetic risk of breast cancer. The nipple and areola can be spared in conjunction with reconstruction options.
The best procedure for you depends on your individual condition, including the size and severity of your cancer, your overall health and age, and whether or not lymph nodes are involved.
Recovery and Reconstruction
Mastectomy usually requires a one to two day hospital stay, depending on the extent of the procedure. A drain or soft plastic tube may be placed in the closed wound to collect fluid, and will be removed by your doctor at a later date.
Reconstruction of the breast can and is usually performed at the time of mastectomy. This allows for immediate restoration of the breast and helps avoid unpleasant scaring and allows for acceleration of the emotional healing process after treatment.
Reconstruction can also be performed at a later time in some instances when immediate reconstruction is not possible.
Reconstruction options are chosen in consultation with a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, and include implants, rotational muscle flaps and free DIEP flaps.
As with any type of surgery, there are certain risks associated with the mastectomy procedure. Some of these risks may include:
- Blood clots
- Breathing problems
- Blood loss
- Skin loss
- Shoulder pain and stiffness
- Nerve damage
Your doctor will discuss these risks with you, as well as take the time to address any concerns you may have before surgery.
If you are interested in learning more about Mastectomy, call 818-226-9030 today to schedule an appointment.