A mastectomy is a form of surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as way to treat or prevent breast cancer. A surgeon may also remove lymph nodes during a mastectomy. The type of mastectomy performed will depend on the stage and type of breast cancer you have.
Types of Mastectomy
Using advanced techniques and technologies, our experienced surgeons perform the following types of mastectomy:
- Subcutaneous mastectomy removes all or most of the breast tissue under the skin, leaving the nipple and areola intact.
- Simple mastectomy removes the entire breast including the breast tissue, nipple, areola, and skin.
- Radical mastectomy removes the entire breast including breast tissue, nipple, areola, skin, underarm lymph nodes, and the chest wall muscles under the breast.
- Partial mastectomy removes the cancer and a small area of normal breast tissue around it.
- Prophylactic mastectomy removes both breasts to prevent breast cancer.
- Modified radical mastectomy removes the entire breast including the breast tissue, nipple, areola, skin, and underarm lymph nodes.
Your surgeon will discuss the benefits and risk of each procedure with you, including any type of follow-up care you’ll need. We also have a team of trusted nurse navigators to help guide you through your treatment and offer support.
How to Prepare
In the days or weeks before your surgery, we will walk you through what to do before your procedure.
Generally, you can take the following steps to prepare for your mastectomy:
- Check with your insurance company about your coverage.
- Arrange for help during your recovery.
- Don’t eat for about eight hours before surgery.
- Stop taking aspirin or other blood thinners about a week before your procedure.
Why Mastectomy is Performed
Your doctor at St. Joseph's Cancer Institute may determine that a mastectomy is the best way to treat your breast cancer. You may also consider a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer if you have a high risk of developing the disease. Risk factors include a family history of the disease or having a gene mutation like BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Mastectomy Recovery at Dignity Health
Typically, the recovery period from mastectomy can take from four to eight weeks, depending on the type of procedure you have, your age, and overall health. Prescribed pain relievers will help keep your pain and discomfort under control.
You may opt to have breast reconstruction after your mastectomy, use a breast prosthetic (a false breast that is slipped into a bra or attached by other means), or be comfortable living “breast-free.” Dignity Health provides access to therapists and support groups for emotional support and comfort as you adjust to life after your mastectomy. If any breast tissue remains, you’ll still need to have regular breast exams and mammograms.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute offers the latest surgical procedures for mastectomy in Stockton, CA and the surrounding areas.