What is a mastectomy? A mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the breast, usually due to cancer, although sometimes as a means to prevent cancer.
Different types of mastectomies may be performed based on the location, size or behavior of a tumor or lump, if one is present.
What are the different types of mastectomy? The types are:
- Radical (Halsted) – involves the removal of all breast tissue, lymph nodes and pectoral muscles behind the breasts – the oldest type, it is now used only in cases where the tumor has invaded the pectoral muscles or recurrent cancer has invaded the chest wall
- Modified radical – breast tissues and lymph nodes are removed
- Simple – all breast tissue and sometimes a single lymph node is removed
- Skin-sparing – breast tissues and other affected components are removed through a smaller incision in order to simplify reconstructive surgery
- Nipple-sparing (subcutaneous) – breast tissue only is removed leaving the nipple and areola
- Double mastectomy – both breasts are removed – could be any of the other types such as a double modified radical mastectomy
- Extended radical mastectomy – in addition to the radical mastectomy, the internal mammary lymph node is removed
- Lumpectomy – when only the lump and tissues surrounding the lump are removed
What are breast conservation techniques? Many of the types listed above such as lumpectomy and skin-sparing are more conservative, in that less is removed during the surgery.