A mastectomy is any procedure that involves removing the entire breast, usually including the nipple and the areola. There are a variety of ways that a mastectomy can be done depending upon the location and size of your cancer and whether you have decided to also have a reconstructive procedure. No muscle is removed and there should be no permanent disability from any of these procedures. The decision to have the mastectomy usually means that radiation treatments will not be needed. Your highly qualified surgeon from The Breast Center will help guide you through these decisions.
This procedure is usually done when there is no planned reconstruction. More skin is taken along with the breast tissue and nipple so that the skin will heal flat to the chest wall.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
The entire breast and many of the lymph nodes under the armpit are removed. This is most commonly done when there is proof of cancer spread to these lymph nodes. Many different skin incisions can be used to accomplish this operation.
This type of mastectomy leaves all of the breast skin, but removes the entire nipple and areola. Through this small, central incision, all of the breast tissue is removed. This is the most common type of mastectomy done with a planned reconstructive procedure.
Nipple-Sparing or Areolar Sparing Mastectomy
These newly developed operations are variations of each other, and are only appropriate in highly selected patients. Either this procedure is used in a preventative (prophylactic) setting or the cancer needs to be small and well away from the nipple, with no imaging evidence of extension towards the nipple. A reconstruction is always done. This operation allows complete breast tissue removal without skin removal.