Seven Common Breast Cancer Surgeries

Seven Common Breast Cancer Surgeries


Ranging from conserving Lumpectomies to Radical Mastectomies, and used to treat, or prevent breast cancer in high-risk patients, the type of procedure required may be based on the size of the tumor, the size of the breast, lymph node involvement, and stage of the cancer being treated. Seven of the most common forms of the procedures include:


Intended to limit the amount of surrounding tissues removed, and considered a valuable means of breast preservation surgery, Lumpectomies are procedures used to eliminate benign tumors from the breasts of patients newly diagnosed with ductal carcinomas, with follow up radiation therapies, chemotherapies, lymph node biopsies, and lymph node dissections often recommended. Factors to be considered when consulting a doctor about Lumpectomies should include such things as the tumor’s size, location, and type, the size of the patient’s breast, the patient’s lifestyle, psychological outlook, and preferences, considerations of undergoing reconstructive surgeries, and whether or not the procedure was performed for prophylactic purposes.


Breast conserving procedures known as Quadrantectomies involve removing one quarter of the patient’s breast, including the tumor, the overlying skin, some chest wall muscles, the lymph nodes closest to the tumor, and up to three centimeters of surrounding tissues to clear the margins around the tumor of cancer. Surgical drains are often required to assist the healing process after the procedure is performed, and the size and shape of the afflicted breast will be different than they were before undergoing the surgery, making it smaller than the nonaffected breast.

Total Mastectomies:

Total Mastectomies, the complete removal of the afflicted breast, may be the preferred treatment option of male breast cancer patients, and several categories of women patients, including women who’s cancer is large relative to their breast size, pregnant women undergoing radiation treatments, women with a variety of serious connective tissue diseases, women who’s Lumpectomies did not completely remove their cancer, women with more than one area of cancer in the same breast, women who have undergone radiation treatments to the affected breast, and women who’s neoadjuvant chemotherapies did not significantly shrink their tumors.

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Modified Radical Mastectomies:

The most widely used surgical procedures for breast cancer patients Modified Radical Mastectomies are designed to remove the breast, the areola, the nipple, multiple large tumors underneath the nipples, and lymphatic tissues in the armpits leaving the pectoralis major muscle in the chest intact, a soft tissue covering for the chest wall, and an option for later reconstructive surgery of the affected breast.

Halsted Mastectomies:

Generally reserved for the most advanced breast cancer cases that invade the muscle wall under the breast tissues Halsted Mastectomies remove the entire breast, pectoralis major and minor muscles, axillary lymph nodes, all breast tissues, and the clavi-pectoral fascia. These Radical Mastectomies are the most disfiguring form of all mastectomies and leave upper limb weaknesses, six to eight inch scars, and the possible need for plasma volume expanders to help reduce arm edema.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomies:

Designed to save as much of the skin as possible and remove cancerous breast tissues through a small incision around the nipple’s areola area, removing the breast, areola, breast tissues, and nipple, Skin-Sparing Mastectomies provide the best reconstructive surgery options for cancer patients but may not be performed if the patient choses not to have immediate breast reconstruction or if the tumor cells are close to the skin.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies:

A viable procedure for some women with small tumors Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies hollow out the nipple area of the breast so tissues can be examined for cancer then immediately reconstructed back to the breast skin, however, the procedure is not available for women with large tumors, women who have tumors not located close to the nipple, women who have cancer in more than one quadrant of the breast, and patients with extensive lymph node involvment. Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies typically result in several complications including providing oxygen to the breast skin, providing blood supplies to the nipple and areola, little or no nipple sensations, and nipple and areola tissue deaths.