(Breast Surgery; Surgery for Breast Cancer; Surgery to Remove a Breast)

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A mastectomy is a surgery done to remove breast tissue. Mastectomy procedures include:
  • Breast-conserving surgery:
    • Lumpectomy —The tumor and a small margin of normal breast tissue around it is removed.
    • Partial mastectomy—Removal of part of the breast that has cancer and some normal tissue around it. This may include removal of lymph nodes or the lining of the chest muscle.
  • Breast-tissue removal surgery:
    • Simple mastectomy—The entire breast is removed, including the nipple and areola.
    • Skin-sparing mastectomy—The skin that covers the breast is left intact except for the nipple and areola. This surgery is similar to a simple mastectomy. It is done when immediate breast reconstruction is planned. The procedure has limitations and may not be an option for all women.
    • Modified radical mastectomy—The entire breast, some lymph nodes in the armpit, and any affected chest muscle is removed.
    • Radical mastectomy—The entire breast, lymph nodes, and muscles of the chest wall are removed (rarely done).
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Reasons for Procedure

A mastectomy is done:
  • To treat breast cancer —removing cancer cells and any affected tissue
  • To prevent breast cancer—women with a very high risk of developing breast cancer may have one or both breasts removed
  • To treat severe side effects from previous treatment—some people with autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma may not be able to tolerate skin side effects from radiation therapy

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