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Mastectomy and Lumpectomy

Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or a portion of a woman’s breast. It is performed for one of the following reasons:

Lumpectomy is surgery to remove a breast tumor and some of the normal tissue around it. The amount of cells removed depends on the size of the tumor and other factors.

Types of mastectomy

  • A simple mastectomy, also called a total mastectomy, removes your whole breast. You may also have one or more lymph nodes removed from your underarm. The following techniques allow for a better cosmetic result:
    • Skin-sparing mastectomy keeps the outer skin of the breast intact to help in breast reconstruction.
    • Nipple-sparing mastectomy removes the breast tissue but keeps the nipple intact.
  • A modified radical mastectomy removes your whole breast and most of the lymph nodes from your underarm.

Breast reconstruction after surgery

Reconstruction involves rebuild the shape, size and look of your breast after surgery. Breast surgeons at Rush have specialized training to provide you with a good cosmetic result after your surgery.

Since a lumpectomy removes less breast tissue, your breast surgeon can use tissue rearrangement to rebuild the area where your tumor was removed.

Your breast surgeon will work closely with a plastic surgeon to reconstruct your breast after mastectomy. Surgeons at Rush can use any of these to replace the breast tissue removed:

  • Silicone breast implants
  • Saline breast implants
  • Tissue from another area of your body

Removing lymph nodes during surgery

In addition to removing the breast tumor, your doctor may also need to remove lymph nodes near your breast. The following procedures may be done at the same time as your mastectomy or lumpectomy:

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A dye is injected into the breast to help determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Axillary node dissection: Several lymph nodes are removed from the underarm area. This is done when it is known the cancer has spread.

Why choose Rush for mastectomy or lumpectomy

  • Surgeons at Rush aim to remove the tumor and to leave you with a good cosmetic result. Breast surgeons at Rush are trained in oncoplastic surgery techniques to preserve the natural appearance of your breast after lumpectomy. Your surgeon will work closely with a plastic surgeon to reconstruct your breast after mastectomy.
  • The nurses who care for you after your surgery are specialized in surgical oncology, meaning that they are trained to specifically care for patients who have undergone surgery for cancer.
  • Rush offers many support services for patients with breast cancer, such as psychological counseling, integrative therapies to complement traditional treatments, and a patient navigator.
  • Patients who receive care through the Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Clinic, meet with their care team together in a single visit. This gives patients a clear idea of the whole breast cancer treatment plan and where surgery fits in.