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Mastectomy

Mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast. There are five different types of mastectomy: "simple" or "total" mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, partial mastectomy, and subcutaneous (nipple-sparing) mastectomy.

"Simple" or "total" mastectomy

Simple or total mastectomy concentrates on the breast tissue itself:


  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • The surgeon does not perform axillary lymph node dissection (removal of lymph nodes in the underarm area). Sometimes, however, lymph nodes are occasionally removed because they happen to be located within the breast tissue taken during surgery.
  • No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.

Modified radical mastectomy

 Modified radical mastectomy involves the removal of both breast tissue and lymph nodes:


  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection is performed, during which levels I and II of underarm lymph nodes are removed.
  • No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.

Radical mastectomy

Radical mastectomy is the most extensive type of mastectomy:


  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • Levels I, II, and III of the underarm lymph nodes are removed.
  • The surgeon also removes the chest wall muscles under the breast.

Partial mastectomy

Partial mastectomy is the removal of the cancerous part of the breast tissue and some normal tissue around it. While lumpectomy is technically a form of partial mastectomy, more tissue is removed in partial mastectomy than in lumpectomy.

Nipple-sparing mastectomy

During nipple-sparing mastectomy, all of the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple is left alone.

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