Mastectomy (Breast Removal Surgery)

A mastectomy is a procedure in which all breast tissue is removed from a breast to treat or prevent breast cancer. It may be an option for patients with early-stage breast cancer. Another alternative is breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), in which only the tumor is removed from the breast. It can be tough to choose between a mastectomy and a lumpectomy. For preventing a recurrence of breast cancer, both procedures are equally beneficial. However, not everyone with breast cancer can have a lumpectomy, and other people would rather have a mastectomy. Breast skin can be preserved and a more natural breast appearance can be achieved using newer mastectomy procedures. This type of mastectomy is also known as a skin-sparing mastectomy. Breast reconstruction surgery, which restores the contour of your breasts, can be done at the same time as your mastectomy or as a separate procedure.

If you get a mastectomy, your doctor will most likely recommend it to you if:

    • You have a large tumor.
    • More than one area of your breast is affected by the tumor.
    • It is not recommended to use radiation therapy.

The size of your breast could also determine the nature of mastectomy you get. Women at high risk for breast cancer may wish to get a mastectomy before the disease starts. It includes women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which have been related to breast cancer. In some circumstances, a mastectomy is performed to prevent breast cancer. 

Types of mastectomy procedures

The following are some types of mastectomy procedures:

    1. Total (simple) mastectomy.
    2. Modified radical mastectomy.
    3. Radical mastectomy.
    4. Nipple-sparing mastectomy.
    5. Skin-sparing mastectomy.

1) Total mastectomy 

A total mastectomy is a surgical technique that removes the entire breast, including the breast tissue, nipple, areola, and skin to treat breast cancer. This procedure is also known as a simple mastectomy. It may be acceptable for a patient with advanced cancer who does not respond well to a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. Some patients choose a total mastectomy over breast-conserving surgeries like lumpectomy. Others choose to have the surgery done as a preventive step, even though they have not been diagnosed with breast cancer since they have a genetic predisposition or are otherwise at high risk of getting the disease.