A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which most or all of the breast tissue is removed, in order to treat breast cancer. There are several types:
Simple (Total) Mastectomy
The removal of all of the breast tissue, but none of the underlying muscle or lymph nodes.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
The removal of all of the breast tissue and lymph nodes on the same side of the body as the breast.
Radical (Halsted) Mastectomy
The removal of all of the breast tissue, the underlying muscle, and the lymph nodes on the same side of the body as the breast (rare).
The removal of the breast tissue, but breast skin is kept for immediate breast reconstruction.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make a curved incision (that follows the natural curve of your breast) closes to the area of the tumor. If the tumor can be seen and/or felt, she will remove the tumor as well as the ring of healthy tissue surrounding it. If it cannot be seen or felt, you will have a procedure before the surgery that will locate and mark the tumor by either use of a mammogram or ultrasound.
After the tumor has been removed, a drain may be placed to collect excess fluids. The incision will be closed.
The actual mastectomy procedure takes approximately two to three hours; however, if you have chosen to have reconstructive surgery at that time, the length of your surgery will increase. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to return home the same day.