Also known as a lumpectomy, this is one of the less invasive options available. This involves only the removal of the tumor, along with a margin of its surrounding tissue. The entire procedure takes up only an hour or two, and recovery time is short, at around one month..
Unlike a simple mastectomy, this procedure removes the entire breast, including the lymph nodes, muscles under the breast, and overlying skin. This procedure is performed on those whose cancer cells have already spread through their chest muscles.
Modified radical mastectomy
This type of mastectomy also removes the breast, including the nipple, areola, breast tissue, and most of the lymph nodes under the arm. The only difference is that while the lining of the chest muscle is removed, the muscle itself is left in place.
There is a higher chance that you will be recommended to undergo breast reconstruction afterwards so as not to leave a hollow in your chest. You will also most likely have to undergo radiation therapy after surgery.
This is a term used to refer to any type of mastectomy done on both breasts. This procedure is preferred as a preventative measure by those who have the BRCA gene mutation, or at high risk of getting breast cancer.
The following are newer treatment options, although further research is still needed to prove their effectiveness:
- Skin-sparing mastectomy. This method preserves most of the breast’s skin, which some women might find ideal. However, those with large tumors or tumors growing near the surface of the skin are not qualified to undergo this type of mastectomy.
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy. Similar to the skin-sparing mastectomy, this procedure removes all breast tissue save for the nipple and areola. If the tissues around and under them are cancer-free, they can be saved. Breast reconstruction is also recommended right after the surgery.
What happens during a mastectomy
Any type of mastectomy is done under general anesthesia. Prior to the surgery itself, your surgeon may draw markings on your breast to show where the incision will be made.
During the procedure, an incision is made around the nipple running across the width of the breast. It’s important to note that the incision is dependent on the type of mastectomy you’re getting.
All the breast tissue, including tissue between the ribs and collarbone, from the side of the body to the breastbone in the center, are removed.
If breast reconstruction is part of your surgical plan, that would be the next step.