All mastectomy procedures remove the breast glad. These procedures differ from one another with regard to what other structures are additionally removed and in terms of how much skin remains after the procedure.
Regardless of which of a number of different incisions are used, a mastectomy removes the entire breast gland. While every type of mastectomy may not be right for every patient, the type of incision used and the amount of skin removed will affect the aesthetic results of reconstruction. (A) A traditional mastectomy incision removes the nipple, areola and all of the skin between the two incisions. (B) Skin-sparing mastectomy removes the nipple and areola, but preserves almost all of the remaining breast skin. (C) Nipple-sparing mastectomy, performed through a single incision, allows total preservation of the nipple, areola and breast skin, and hence the most realistic outcomes following reconstruction.
Radical Mastectomy: removes chest wall muscles in addition to the removal of the breast gland and lymph nodes. This procedure is very rarely performed today.
Modified Radical Mastectomy: like simple mastectomy, removes all of the breast glad and a variable amount of skin. This procedure, however, also removes most or all of the lymph nodes from the armpit and the lining of the chest wall muscles.
Simple Mastectomy: (also known as Total Mastectomy) removes the entire breast gland and a variable amount of the skin of the breast. When done in the “traditional” manner, simple mastectomy removes an ellipse of skin that includes within it, the nipple and areola. In many cases, simple mastectomy will be combined with the removal of one or more of the lymph nodes from the armpit for biopsy.
Skin-Sparing Mastectomy and Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: These procedures are sophisticated variations of simple mastectomy. They preserve a maximal amount of skin (and in the case of the latter, the nipple and areola) and consequently lend themselves to the best possible reconstructive outcomes especially when combined with immediate breast reconstruction. Learn more about the advantages of combining skin-sparing mastectomy or nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction.
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