A mastectomy is a surgical procedure which involves the removal of all or part of the breast. The surgery is done most often to treat breast cancer. Breast cancer is a major public health problem for women throughout the world. In India, the projected incidence of breast cancer in females is 1in 29 females in their lifetime.

Risk factors for breast cancer include increased age, family history of breast cancer, genetic mutations and radiation exposure.

There are different types of mastectomies based on how the surgery is done and the amount of tissue removed.

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Types of Mastectomy

Simple mastectomy: Breast removal without breast reconstruction. The surgeon removes the entire breast, including the nipple, areola and skin. The Oncologist removes the lymph nodes during the procedure unless the surgery is to prevent breast cancer from developing. This surgery is used to treat early forms of breast cancer.

Skin sparing mastectomy: The entire breast tissue, including the nipple and areola, is removed by the oncologist, but the skin is left in place. Breast reconstruction is done right away for patients with this type of surgery.

Nipple-sparing mastectomy: The surgeon can remove the breast tissue while leaving the skin, areola and nipple. This surgery is only an option when the cancer is not detected in the tissue underneath the nipple. A patient who has this type of surgery will have breast reconstruction done immediately.

Modified radical mastectomy: It involves the removal of the breast tissue and all lymph nodes. The surgeon performs this procedure in patients with advanced breast cancer. Removing the lymph nodes allows the doctor to determine whether cancer has spread beyond the breast.

Double mastectomy: The surgeon removes both breasts in this procedure. Patient who has a high risk of breast cancer may undergo this surgery as a part of risk reduction.

Frequently Asked Questions:

After a mastectomy without breast reconstruction, it can take three to four weeks to feel mostly normal. If you also have breast reconstruction, recovery can take six to eight weeks. For some procedures, it can take months before you can return to being fully active.

Wound infection or bleeding, swelling of the arm, short term breast swelling, hardness due to scar. This can be treated by medicines, exercise or massage.

Once surgery is completed, you will most likely have drains that are coming out of your body and being held in place with stitches. So, drain lanyard for shower is required.Mastectomy pillow and shower seat.

You can expect moderate amount of pain after the surgery. The pain lasts 3 to 5 days and can be controlled with anti inflammatory drugs.

A breast oncology surgeon removes breast based on the amount of the portion of tissue involved.


  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/living-as-a-breast-cancer-survivor/follow-up-care-after-breast-cancer-treatment.html
  • https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/about-your-mastectomy
  • https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/mastectomy-vs-lumpectomy

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