Breast Surgery Types
Doctors will work with patients to decide which type of breast surgery is the best option to treat their breast cancer. The main types of breast surgery include:
Breast-conserving surgery, also called a lumpectomy, involves removal of the part of the breast containing cancer.
- A lumpectomy involves removing a small part, or “lump,” of breast containing cancer.
The goal is to remove the cancer as well as some surrounding normal tissue. How much of the breast removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors. This may be a good option for women with early-stage breast cancer.
Mastectomy is a type of breast surgery in which the entire breast is removed, and may include the nipple as well. There are several different types of mastectomies. Some women may also get a double mastectomy, in which both breasts are removed. Women will discuss with their surgeon recommendations in regards to having a single or double mastectomy. A double mastectomy is often done as a preventive surgery for women at very high risk for getting cancer in the other breast, or for those who have the breast cancer gene.
Plastic and reconstructive breast surgery may be done after breast cancer surgery. This is called breast reconstruction. Before undergoing mastectomy or other surgical treatment, patients can explore options for immediate or delayed reconstructive breast surgery. Following discussion with the surgeon, patients may be recommended to meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss possible procedures for breast reduction procedures and/or reconstruction of a breast mound following the removal of the breast tissue.
Breast surgery recovery: What to expect
Recovery from breast surgery can take a few weeks and is longer for reconstruction surgery. Recovery from breast surgery may include:
Taking pain medication
Caring for the wound, stitches and staples, and dressing
Monitoring for signs of infection
Exercise arm to prevent arm and shoulder stiffness