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Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgical treatment options:

  • Lumpectomy- This is known as a breast-conserving surgery, because as much of the breast as possible is saved. Often referred to as an excisional biopsy or wide excision, the first step of this two-stage treatment removes the lump in the breast along with some of the surrounding tissue. Axillary lymph nodes (under the arm) are evaluated. The second step is to follow surgery with radiation therapy to treat the remaining breast tissue.
  • Partial mastectomy- Also called a segmental mastectomy, this surgery removes the part of breast that contains the cancer, some of the surrounding tissue and the axillary lymph nodes (under the arm) are evaluated. This procedure is often followed by radiation therapy.
  • Total or simple mastectomy-  During this surgery, the whole breast, including the nipple and areola, is removed. Some of the axillary lymph nodes may also be removed and evaluated. In some cases this procedure is followed by radiation therapy.
  • Modified radical mastectomy- In this procedure, the entire breast is removed, including the nipple and areola, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles. The lymph nodes are evaluated. In some cases radiation therapy may be recommended.
  • Radical mastectomy (Halsted radical mastectomy) - This procedure is rarely performed today. It involves removal of the breast which contains cancer, chest wall muscles beneath the breast, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm.

In addition to radiation therapy that may follow the surgeries, you may be prescribed chemotherapy treatment or hormone therapy to attempt to remove any remaining cancer cells.

Breast reconstruction

If you choose to have a mastectomy, we provide a number of breast reconstruction options. In some cases, a breast surgeon with special expertise in reconstructive surgery may perform this operation at the same time as the mastectomy or after the mastectomy. Patients may also consider the use of a breast prosthesis.