Breast Surgery Procedures
Surgery is a common treatment for breast cancer, as well as other conditions affecting the breast. The goal of surgical breast cancer treatment is to remove the cancer of the breast and from any areas where it may have spread.
The following types of surgery may be used, depending upon the type of breast cancer:
- Mastectomy — Removes the whole breast and often the lining over the chest muscle. It’s also called a total or simple mastectomy.
- Lumpectomy — Also called a partial mastectomy, this type of breast-sparing surgery involves only removing the lump and some surrounding tissue.
- Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy — If breast cancer spreads, it usually spreads first to the lymph nodes under the arms. The sentinel lymph node is the node it reaches first. In this surgery, the node is identified and removed to see if it has cancer cells in it. If the sentinel node doesn’t have cancer, then the rest of the underarm nodes have a good chance of being cancer-free. Therefore, this type of biopsy can possibly prevent the need for other nodes being removed. Sentinel node biopsy is often followed by breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy.
Other breast surgery treatments are performed to change the appearance of the breasts. These procedures include:
- Breast Augmentation — Also called augmentation mammoplasty, this procedure is performed to reshape the breast in order to make it larger. Breast augmentation can be performed to reconstruct the breast following surgery for breast cancer.
- Breast Lift — A breast lift or mastoplexy surgery raises and firms the breasts by tightening tissue surrounding the breast and removing excess skin to reshape and lift the new breast contour. This procedure is often performed with breast augmentation to also change the size of the breasts.
- Breast Reconstruction — This surgical procedure involves creating a breast mound that comes as close as possible to the form and appearance of the natural breast. With advances in breast reconstruction surgery, many women undergoing breast removal, because of cancer or other diseases, choose to have their breasts rebuilt.
- Breast Reduction — Also known as reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction surgically removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size that is proportional with the body and to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with overly large breasts.