What Is a Mastectomy?
Usually employed to treat breast cancer, a mastectomy is the partial or complete removal of the breast.Â There are several types of mastectomy procedures (preventive, partial, and radical), and then exact nature of the cancer helps determine how much of the breast is removed.Â While mastectomies are more common in women, many male breast cancer patients opt for the procedure as well.Â
The type of mastectomy a patient chooses depends on her or his heath, age, and the status of the tumor within the breast (size and extent of spreading).Â A preventive mastectomy may include removal of the complete breast and nipple. Most popular with patients who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer, this statistically reduces breast cancer occurrence by 90%.Â Surgeons can reconstruct the removed portions at the same time as the mastectomy or at a later date.Â Plastic surgeons use implants or body tissue from other areas to recreate the look and feel of the breast. Depending on the spread and size of the tumors, mastectomies may require follow-up treatment, including radiation, chemotherapy, or prescription or herbal medications.Â ÂA partial mastectomy salvages more of the breast than the other types.Â Surgeons only remove the part of the breast that contains the tumor, followed up with radiation treatment.Â During a radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the complete breast, nipple, lymph nodes, muscles beneath, and the skin covering the breast.Â This procedure is usually reserved for the most extreme cases.