A Mastectomy is the surgical removal of a breast. The vast majority of mastectomies are performed on women as a treatment for breast cancer, although men may develop breast cancer and require the procedure, too.
In some cases, a lumpectomy may be another surgical treatment option for these patients. Those with more extensive breast cancer may require a bilateral mastectomy, which is the removal of some or all of the tissue in both breasts.
Some men with a condition called gynecomastia, in which the breast tissue becomes overdeveloped, opt for a mastectomy for cosmetic purposes.
There are several types of mastectomies. The decision of what type of mastectomy should be done should be made with the assistance of the surgeon performing the mastectomy, the oncologist and the plastic surgeon performing the reconstruction. Some techniques may not be able to be considered, depending upon the location and severity of the cancer. The emotional needs of the patient must also be weighed.
The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery should be made before the mastectomy surgery is done. The reconstruction may be able to be done right after the mastectomy or at a later date. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and typically lasts 2 to 3 hours, although it may take longer if a procedure to remove the lymph nodes is planned or reconstructive surgery is being performed immediately after the mastectomy.
Types of Mastectomy
There are four different kinds of mastectomies that are available to breast cancer sufferers. Your health care provider may recommend one type of mastectomy over the other depending upon your health, age, and the stage of your breast cancer.
Partial (Segmented) Mastectomy : -
Partial mastectomy is the least invasive type of mastectomy. It is frequently performed if you are in the early stages of breast cancer or if you have a small tumor. Partial mastectomy involves removing only a small portion of your breast. Generally, about one-quarter of your breast is removed.
Total (Simple) Mastectomy : -
With a total mastectomy, your entire breast is removed, including your breast skin and nipple. No axillary (armpit) lymph nodes are removed.
Modified Radical Mastectomy : -
If you have a modified radical mastectomy, your entire breast, breast skin, and nipple are removed. Some axillary lymph nodes are also removed. This is the most commonly-performed mastectomy procedure.
Radical Mastectomy : -
The radical mastectomy involves removing your entire breast, breast skin, and nipple, along with your axillary lymph nodes. The muscles in your chest wall are also removed. This procedure is now rarely performed because of the disfigurement that it causes.
Side Effects Of Axillary Lymph Node Dissection Include : -
- Lymphedema, or swelling of the armpit
- Limited arm movement
- Numbness in the upper arm
Mastectomy: Advantages And Disadvantages
For some women, removing the entire breast provides greater peace of mind ("just get the whole thing out of there!"). Radiation therapy may still be needed, depending on the results of the pathology.
Mastectomy has some possible disadvantages:
- Mastectomy Takes Longer And Is More Extensive Than Lumpectomy, with more post-surgery side effects and a longer recuperation time.
- Mastectomy Means A Permanent Loss Of Your Breast.
- You Are Likely To Have Additional Surgeries To Reconstruct Your Breast after mastectomy.
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