June 25th, 2012 by Hasham
Breast Cancer Surgery Options
Simple or Total Mastectomy
The entire breast is removed, but no lymph nodes are removed in a simple or total mastectomy. Simple mastectomy is most frequently used for further cancer prevention or when the cancer does not go to the lymph nodes.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
During a modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue along with the nipple. Lymph nodes in the armpit are also removed. The chest muscles are left intact. For many patients, mastectomy is accompanied by either an immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. This can be done quite effectively using either breast implants or the patient’s own tissue — usually from the lower abdomen.
For a radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue along with the nipple, lymph nodes in the armpit, and chest wall muscles under the breast. This procedure is rarely performed today because modified radical mastectomy has proved to be as effective, and is less disfiguring.
There is also the option of a skin-sparing mastectomy in which the surgeon removed the nipple and areola and the area where the tumor was removed. This procedure helps facilitate breast reconstruction without affecting the outcome of the disease.
You should thoroughly discuss these surgical options with your surgeon to achieve the best outcome. Whichever type of surgery is your best option, you will be able to return home after a short stay in the hospital.
How Long Will I Be in the Hospital?
The length of stay in the hospital varies depending on the type of surgery performed. Generally, lumpectomies are done on an outpatient basis, with the patient recovering in a 24-hour short-stay observation unit after the procedure.
Mastectomies or lymph node removal surgery usually require a one- to two-night stay in the hospital.
Breast Cancer Surgery – Your Options and Decisions
Once you have a diagnosis of breast cancer, you and your doctor will discuss your options for surgery. It can be a difficult decision, but asking good questions and knowing your options can help. Remember that surgery is often the first treatment you will use to attack breast cancer, so choose the most effective method for you.
Checking Your Lymph Nodes
You will need to know whether or not the cancer has traveled beyond your breast. One way to test for this is to examine your lymph nodes. There are two surgeries that accomplish this, both of which share a potential side effect:
Making Your Surgery Decisions
Once you have your comprehensive diagnosis, it’s time to sort your options for surgery. Ask your surgeon all the questions that are important to you, consider your priorities, and make your choice.
Therapeutic Breast Surgery
Breast cancer surgery is done to prevent cancer recurrence. The goal is to remove the tumor so that it won’t reappear in your breast or spread to other parts of your body. You may have several choices for breast surgery, depending on the size of the tumor, the type of cancer, and the size of your breast.
Navigating Breast Cancer Surgery and Recovery
Now that you’ve made your decision, schedule your surgery and then begin to prepare yourself. Check with your insurance provider, pack your things, and collect all your comfy pillows. Make sure you know the sick leave policies at your workplace, and talk with your supervisor.
Next Steps in Your Journey
After you recover from surgery, you may need additional treatments to lower your risk of recurrence. Be sure to take a break between surgery and radiation or chemotherapy. Use the time to learn more about what to expect during your treatments. Gather supportive people around you, and spend time with those you love. Most of all, take it easy as you recover from surgery.