A mastectomy is a way to treat breast cancer by surgically removing a breast and sometimes nearby tissues. For those with early-stage breast cancer, a mastectomy may be one treatment option. Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) in which only the tumor is removed from the breast, may be another option.
The most common mastectomy procedures are:
- Partial Mastectomy
- A partial mastectomy requires the surgeon to remove a larger portion of the breast than in the lumpectomy — perhaps a whole segment or quadrant of tissue — in order to eliminate the cancer. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove some of the lining over the chest muscles as well
- Skin-Sparing Mastectomy
- This procedure requires removal of the breast, nipple, areola, and sentinel lymph node (or nodes) but not the breast skin. Many women who intend to have breast reconstruction will opt for this procedure.
- Simple Mastectomy (also known as total mastectomy)
- This surgery requires removal of the breast, nipple, areola, and sentinel lymph node or nodes. It leaves the chest wall and more distant lymph nodes intact.
- Modified Radical Mastectomy
- This procedure requires removal of the entire breast, nipple, areola, and axillary lymph nodes but often leaves the chest wall intact.
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