A Mastectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the entire breast. All of the breast tissue is removed and can include adjacent tissue. There are four types of mastectomies which include:
Simple (Total) Mastectomy
This is the most common type of breast cancer surgery, and simple means the entire breast is removed. This is especially common for women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and for women looking to prevent any possibility of breast cancer occurring.
Key points of a simple mastectomy:
- Mastectomy is a common resolution for breast cancer.
- Removal of the entire breast.
- Does not affect lymph nodes under the arm.
- Does not affect muscle tissue beneath the breast.
- Sometimes, both breasts are removed (Double Mastectomy)
Modified radical mastectomy
This procedure is typically done for patients with invasive breast cancer. The main difference with the modified radical mastectomy and the simple mastectomy is that the surgeon will remove the lymph nodes under the arm as well for examination, which isn't done during the simple mastectomy. Examining lymph nodes helps determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the breast.
Key points of a modified radical mastectomy:
- The surgeon removes the entire breast
- Axillary lymph node (nodes beneath the arm) dissection is performed
- No muscles are removed from beneath the breast
The radical mastectomy is the most extensive mastectomy procedure. This is only done if the cancer has spread to the chest muscles under the breast. This procedure is rarely done, and modified radical mastectomy is usually done its place, since it is less disfiguring.
Key points of a radical mastectomy:
- This surgical procedure involves the removal of the entire breast, the lymph nodes under the arm and the chest wall muscles under the breast.
- This is an uncommon procedure
- Modified radical mastectomy is a more common procedure now.
- However for large tumors growing into the muscles under the breast, it may still be done.
A skin-sparing mastectomy isn't mutually exclusive to the other forms of mastectomy. A skin-sparing mastectomy can also be a simple, total or even a modified radical mastectomy. This procedure tries to be as efficient as possible in creating openings to remove cancerous tissue. The skin from the nipple, areola and scarred skin from the original biopsy are removed and through those openings, tissue is removed from the breast. The remaining pouch of skin created the best form to immediately do a reconstructive surgery. Many women opt for this kind of procedure because it yields the most realistic results.
Key points of a skin-sparing mastectomy:
- A skin-sparing mastectomy is not usually performed if you’ve decided that you will not have immediate breast reconstruction
- A skin-sparing mastectomy is not safe if there is a possibility that tumor cells are close to the skin
- Skin-sparing mastectomy leaves most of the skin over the breast intact
- The procedure works as well as the simple mastectomy with less scar tissue and a more natural looking reconstructed breast.
Like the skin-sparing mastectomy, the nipple-sparing mastectomy can be in combination with the various types of mastectomy procedures. In this case, the nipple is also left alone.
This is very similar to a lumpectomy, in that only a portion of the cancerous breast tissue is removed. This is done if detected in the very early stages of cancer. However, more tissue is removed during a partial mastectomy than in a lumpectomy.
Treating Breast Cancer
If you require surgery for a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, give Macon Surgical Associates a call. We can be reached at (478) 746-2770.