Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Simple mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts. The adjacent lymph nodes and chest muscles are left intact. If a few lymph nodes are removed, the procedure is called an extended simple mastectomy. Breast-sparing techniques may be...
used to preserve the patient's breast skin and nipple, which is helpful in cosmetic breast reconstruction.
A modified radical mastectomy is a major surgery used to treat breast cancer. This animation shows which anatomical structures are removed during a modified radical mastectomy and how the procedure is different from other forms of mastectomy (breast removal surgery).
Simple mastectomy (or "total mastectomy"): In this procedure, the entire breast tissue is removed, but axillary contents are undisturbed. Sometimes the "sentinel lymph node"--that is, the first axillary lymph node that the would be expected to drain into--is removed. This surgery is sometimes done bilaterally (on both breasts) on patients who wish to undergo mastectomy as a cancer-preventative measure. Patients who undergo simple mastectomy can usually leave the hospital after a brief stay. Frequently, a drainage tube is inserted during surgery in their chest and attached to a small suction device to remove subcutaneous fluid. These are usually removed several days after surgery as drainage decrease to less than 20-30 ml per day.
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