Surgery in Breast Cancer


What is Mastectomy?

Mastectomy is usually used as a surgery in Breast Cancer. Sometimes, a mastectomy is performed to prevent Breast Cancer in women who have a high risk for it. Mastectomy is the surgical removal a breast. Sometimes other tissues, lymph nodes near the breast are also removed. Your doctor may suggest you to have a mastectomy if:

  • The tumour is large
  • The tumour involves more than one area of your breast
  • Using Radiation therapy is not advised
  • The size of your breast determine the type of mastectomy required.

Sometimes, a mastectomy may be advised even before a cancer develops, in women who has a high risk for Breast Cancer. This includes women who have genes associated to breast cancer, like the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. In these situations, a mastectomy is performed as a preventive measure, to keep Breast Cancer from occurring.

What are the types of Mastectomy?

Partial Mastectomy

A partial mastectomy is the removal of a portion of the breast, in order to remove the cancer. It may be a whole segment or quadrant of tissue. Sometimes, the surgeon will remove some of the lining over the chest muscles also.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy is the removal of the breast, nipple, areola, and sentinel lymph node but not the breast skin. Women opt for this procedure when they intend to have breast reconstruction.

Simple Mastectomy (also known as total mastectomy)

This Surgery is performed to remove the breast, nipple, areola, and nearby lymph nodes. It leaves the chest wall and distant lymph nodes intact.

Modified Radical Mastectomy

Modified Radical Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the whole breast and nearby lymph nodes but often leaves the chest wall intact.

How is Mastectomy done?

A mastectomy typically requires a hospital stay. Generally, a mastectomy follows this process:

The surgeon will make an incision in the breast. The type of cut depends on what type of mastectomy you have. The underlying tissue will be separated and gently cut loose. After removal of the breast or breast tissue, nearby lymph nodes may be removed. If you opt for a breast reconstruction along with mastectomy, a plastic surgeon will take over the operation. Breast tissue and any other extracted tissues are sent to the laboratory for analysis. The wound is sealed using adhesive lines or stiches. A sterile bandage or dressing is used to cover the wound.

What are the side effects of Mastectomy?

  • Short-term (temporary) breast swelling
  • Breast soreness
  • Hardness due to scar tissue that can form at the site of the cut (incision)
  • Wound infection or bleeding
  • Swelling (lymphedema) of the arm, if lymph nodes were removed
  • Pain in the breast that has been removed (phantom breast pain).