Mastectomies are done to remove the breast if you have breast cancer or are at high risk of developing it. During a mastectomy, the entire breast is removed. Some women choose to remove both breasts for personal or preventative reasons. Depending on your case, a mastectomy could be a better option than having a lumpectomy.
What types of mastectomies are there?
Simple or total mastectomy: The entire breast including tissue, nipple, areola, and skin are removed.
Modified radical mastectomy: The entire breast and some axillary lymph nodes are removed
Skin-sparing mastectomy: The breast tissue is removed but breast skin is spared. This is an ideal procedure if reconstruction is planned.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy: Only the breast tissue is removed leaving the nipple, areola, and breast skin. This is another procedure ideal for reconstruction.
The type of procedure that is right for each patient will vary. Your surgeon will discuss all of your options during the consultation.
How long does it take to recover from a mastectomy?
It will depend on what type of mastectomy you have and if you have a reconstruction. It usually takes about 4-6 week to recover.
Will I have to stay overnight at the hospital?
Yes for at least 1-2 nights. This gives the nurse time to show you how to care for your surgical site and drains.
Can I have a reconstruction?
Your surgeon will refer you to a plastic surgeon to discuss your reconstruction options prior to your surgery. In many cases you are able to have a reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy.