• Mastectomy

    What is a mastectomy?

    mastectomy is a term for surgery that removes the breast. The two most common types of mastectomy are

    • Simple or total mastectomy, in which just the breast is removed;
    • Modified radical mastectomy, in which the breast and lymph nodes under the arm are removed.  

    A mastectomy may be recommended by your breast surgeon, or for some women with certain types of breast concerns, it may be the preferred choice over breast conservation surgery.

    What can I expect?

    Mastectomies are performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an oval-shaped incision in order to remove your breast tissue, nipple and areola. Lymph nodes will be removed at this time, and a tube for fluid drainage will be inserted.

    How long you stay in the hospital varies depending upon the type of mastectomy, but one to three days is common. Some women opt to have breast reconstruction surgery at the same time as their mastectomy, in which case you would need to stay in the hospital longer.

    If you are scheduled for a mastectomy, your Comprehensive Breast Health Center team will talk with you in detail about what you might expect before, during and after the procedure, and answer all of your questions. 

    Should I have breast reconstruction surgery?

    Many women who have a mastectomy may choose to have their breast reconstructed. For women who choose to have reconstruction, you surgeon will perform a skin sparing mastectomy. Breast reconstruction is performed by experts in Lahey's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department, and can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy, or later.

    Breasts can be reconstructed in two ways:

    • With implants filled with fluid or gel, or
    • With your own tissue taken from your abdomen or back

    For more information on breast reconstruction surgery, talk to a member of your Comprehensive Breast Health Center team.

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  • 2010 Breast Cancer Report

    Learn more about the patient-centered, high-quality approach to breast cancer care provided to patients diagnosed and treated at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center.