Mastectomy Procedure in Clifton, NJ
What is Mastectomy?
If a cancerous tumor has been found within the breast, or if cancer has spread through most of the breast and into the lymph nodes, your doctor may advise that a mastectomy should be performed.
A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which a portion or the entire breast is removed to eliminate the presence of cancerous cells. Mastectomy may also be performed if radiation therapy is not an option such as with pregnant patients or patients suffering from an auto-immune disease such as lupus or scleroderma which would be adversely affected by this form of treatment.
In some instances, mastectomy may be recommended to prevent the development of cancer in patients who are at a high risk due to their genetic makeup.
Types of Mastectomies
The location, size, stage, and whether or not a cancer has spread to the lymph nodes all play a role in determining which mastectomy will be the most effective in treating the condition.
When a tumor is relatively small and still in the early stages your doctor may perform a lumpectomy. In this instance most of the breast remains intact and only the tumor and a small amount of the surrounding tissues are removed.
Skin or nipple sparing
In this procedure, the skin and/or nipples are left intact for the purpose of reconstruction. This may not always be an option depending on the size of the tumor.
Total or simple mastectomy
For cancers in advanced stages, tumors that have spread to more than one location, or instances where the cancer has returned after a lumpectomy or radiation therapy, the best option for treatment is to remove the nipple, areola, skin, and all breast tissue affected by the cancer.
Modified radical mastectomy
This option is pursued when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. To stop the spread of cancer, doctors remove the entire breast, nipple, areola, the skin, the lining over the chest muscles and most of the lymph nodes under the arm.
This mastectomy is a preventative surgery where either a single breast (unilateral mastectomy) or both breasts (bilateral mastectomy) are removed because a gene mutation is present that puts the patient at a high risk for developing cancer.
Mastectomy - The Procedure
Before any treatment is decided upon, you'll likely meet with a surgeon to discuss the procedure, whether it will be accompanied by radiation therapy and the options for breast reconstruction.
Here are a just few points to familiarize you with the mastectomy process:
- A mastectomy is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will not be awake during the surgery.
- An incision will be performed around the breast to remove all cancerous tissue as well as some lymph nodes beneath the armpit. These tissues will be sent to the lab for diagnosis.
- If you are pursuing reconstruction, a plastic surgeon will be on hand during the surgery to insert temporary expanders behind the chest muscle which will be used as the new breast mound when reconstructive surgery finally takes place. This will usually be after radiation therapy has been completed.
- The incision is closed with stitches and a temporary tube will be inserted to drain any fluids that may accumulate during the healing process.
- Finally, you'll be taken to a recovery room followed by a one- or two-day hospital stay for monitoring.