A mastectomy is a surgery performed to remove the breast. In some cases, one breast is removed and in other cases both breasts are removed. The removal of one breast is called a unilateral mastectomy and the removal of both is called a bilateral mastectomy.
There are different types of mastectomies and these are done most commonly with reconstruction.
A total, or simple mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast, including the nipple, areola and most overlying skin. We rarely do this nowadays. Newer mastectomy procedures allow the skin and nipple over the breast to be saved.
I like to offer most patients this option if it’s clinically indicated. Most of our patients also opt to have reconstruction, and I have the privilege of working with wonderful plastic surgeons to complete the procedure.
New mastectomy procedures which allow the skin and nipple to be saved along with reconstruction surgery help to keep the appearance of the breast.
Many patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer decide with their doctors to undergo a mastectomy to lower the chance of recurrence of the disease. Removing the breast tissue greatly reduces a patient's risk of the cancer returning, and in turn, increases the chances of living a longer life.