Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mastectomy - surgery to remove a breast.

Photograph of a female doctor talking to a woman in a hospital bed

A mastectomy is surgery to remove a breast. It is performed either to treat or to prevent breast cancer. Only high-risk patients have surgery to prevent cancer. There are four main types:
  • Total mastectomy - removal of breast tissue and nipple
  • Modified radical mastectomy - removal of the breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm and often the lining over the chest muscles
  • Lumpectomy - surgery to remove the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it
  • Radical mastectomy - the removal of the breast, lymph nodes and chest muscles. This is no longer common
Which surgery you have depends on the stage of cancer, size of the tumor, size of the breast and whether the lymph nodes are involved. Many women have breast reconstruction to rebuild the breast after a mastectomy.
NIH: National Cancer Institute

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