Mastectomy and its Different Types

With the increasing popularity and affordability of cosmetic and plastic surgical procedures, one important surgery that can also greatly benefit women is mastectomy. Women who have symptoms of developing breast cancer can highly benefit from the procedure. Others are confused whether or not mastectomy is also a surgical procedure done to improve the shape of the breast. To have clear knowledge about it, below is the definition and the different types of mastectomy.

What is mastectomy?

The term refers to the complete removal of the whole or most part of the breast. The nipple may or may not be removed depending on the type. The doctor removes the lymph nodes but the small glands are not because these are part of the immune system. There are five different types. These are simple or total mastectomy, partial mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and subcutaneous mastectomy. The type that will be performed will depend on the condition of the breast. For example, a different procedure will be performed to breasts with symptoms of cancer compared to those that are already developing cancer.

Simple Mastectomy

Also called total mastectomy, this type involves the removal of the entire breast. However, the muscles beneath or under the breast are not removed. In most cases, lymph nodes in the underarm area are not removed. But there are conditions that the removal is required because the lymph nodes are located within the tissue of the breast.

Partial Mastectomy

This type involves the removal of the cancerous part only of the breast. The affecte4d tissue and the other normal tissues that surround it may also be removed. This can be compared to lumpectomy. The difference, however, is that less tissue is removed in lumpectomy.

Modified Radical Mastectomy

This type involves the removal of both the lymph nodes and entire breast tissue. The first step is to remove the entire breast. Then, it is followed with the dissection of the axillary lymph node to remove the first and second levels of the nodes in the underarm. The muscles located beneath the breast are not removed.

Radical Mastectomy

Of all the types, this one is the most extensive. The first step is the removal of the entire breast. Then, the first, second and third level of lymph nodes in the underarm are removed. Lastly, the chest wall muscles that are located under the breast are also removed.

Subcutaneous Mastectomy

This type is also called nipple-sparing. Like the other types, the entire breast except the nipple is removed. This means that all of the tissues of the breast are removed while ensuring that the nipples remain. This is the less often performed type especially if compared to total or simple mastectomy. Until today, this type is a controversial procedure because performing it may result to the numbness and distortion of the nipple. With this, most physicians recommend the simple type instead of subcutaneous.

With this knowledge, women should be now conscious about their breast. They should think thoroughly before availing any cosmetic surgery and research if the procedure may contribute to the development of cancer.

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