A mastectomy refers to a surgery which involves the removal of breast tissues from the breast. It is done to treat breast cancer or prevent breast cancer when there is a high risk of it.
There exist numerous types of mastectomy, such as:
- Simple (Total) Mastectomy: This surgery involves removing your breast along with the areola, nipple, and skin encasing the breast.
- Double Mastectomy: This surgery is conducted if there’s a high risk of breast cancer and involves the removal of both breasts.
- Modified Radical Mastectomy: This surgery involves removing the breast as well as the lymph nodes.
- Skin-sparing Mastectomy: This surgery involves keeping the skin around the breast intact but removing the breast, areola, and nipple. Sometimes, during this surgery, if you want – a doctor can reconstruct your breast with the help of tissues from other body parts.
- Nipple-sparing Mastectomy: This surgery involves removing the breast tissues from under the nipple and areola and leaving the skin of the nipple and areola intact. It is followed by breast reconstruction surgery.
You may require mastectomy if you experience or suffer from the following:
- You have more than one tumour or large tumours in different areas of the breasts
- Breast cancer has reappeared after you have already had chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Even after having a lumpectomy, there is still cancer at the margins of the surgically removed tissue, and there is a risk that it will spread to other breast tissues
- You are expecting, and radiation therapy puts your unborn child at an unacceptable risk
- A breast biopsy has revealed malignant-looking calcium deposits all over your breast that have a high possibility of turning cancerous
- You have a DNA mutation that puts you at a high risk of contracting breast cancer again
- You suffer from a connective tissue illness, so you may not be able to handle the negative effects of radiation on your skin
Besides this, you may need a mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancers, such as:
- Noninvasive cancer in the breast (Ductal carcinoma in situ)
- Early stage breast cancer, i.e., for stages I and II
- Advanced stage breast cancer, i.e., for stage III
- Paget’s disease of the breast (cancer that affects the skin of the areola and nipple)
- Inflammatory breast cancer (For this, mastectomy usually happens after chemotherapy)
- Recurring breast cancer
Before having a mastectomy, you should be aware of the risks and side effects that this surgery can pose.
- Soreness of breasts
- Swelling in the arm or breast
- Development of hard scar tissue
- Phantom pain in the breast
- Accumulation of blood in the operated site
- Numbness or stiffness in the shoulder and arm
Prerequisites for the surgery
You will need to provide information about your health history and undergo blood tests to ascertain that your body is fit enough to sustain mastectomy.
You will also need to mention the medicines you are taking and whether you are allergic to any anaesthetic medicines. For instance, if you take any blood-thinning medicines, you will have to stop taking them for some days before mastectomy.
Besides this, if you consume any supplements – you will need to stop consuming them for a while before mastectomy.
A doctor will provide all the details about mastectomy, including how this surgery is carried out. During this time – you can put up your queries and clear your doubts.
You will also need to tell whether you wish to have breast reconstruction surgery after the mastectomy procedure.
Forthwith, you will need to sign a form declaring that you consent to undergo mastectomy.
During the surgery
Before mastectomy can begin, you will need to wear a hospital gown and lie on the operating bed. An intravenous line (IV) will be connected to your arm, and then anaesthesia will be administered. Your blood oxygen level, heart rate, and blood pressure will be checked and monitored constantly.
For the surgery, a doctor will start by cleaning the area of the operation with a sterile solution. Then, in your breast – an incision is made by the doctor.
And depending on the type of mastectomy – you have chosen to undergo – the areola, nipple, breast tissue, and lymph nodes will be removed.
Forthwith, breast reconstruction surgery will be carried out – only if you have given consent for it before the beginning of mastectomy.
Otherwise, drainage tubes will be placed over the operated area. And hence it will be stitched close and bandaged.
After the surgery
Once the mastectomy is complete, you will be shifted to another room to recover. Your blood glucose, oxygen levels, and heart rate will be closely monitored. Meanwhile, a sample of your breast tissues and lymph nodes will be sent to a lab for further testing.
Since, in some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy is needed; accordingly, you will be discharged from the hospital within 1-5 days.
Once at home, you will have to keep the operated area clean and dry. For this, you will need to follow the instruction of your doctor about bathing.
You can experience shoulder pain or stiffness. You can also have soreness or swelling in the operated area. To lessen this discomfort, you should practice the post-mastectomy exercises your doctor advised.
Additionally, it would be best if you took the prescribed antibiotics on time to prevent any risk of infection.
A mastectomy is a surgery which involves the removal of breast tissues from your breast. Based on some slight variations – it is divided into different types. It is usually carried out to prevent breast cancer or to treat it.
Since it can involve risks, it should only be done by experienced oncology surgeons. So, for this, you can reach out to us at the CK Birla Hospital(R).
Our oncologists at the CK Birla Hospital(R) are skilled and experienced and have successfully performed numerous breast cancer surgeries. Our cancer specialists, doctors, and oncologists use state-of-the-art technologies for breast cancer screening and believe in providing compassionate healthcare services.
So, if you are considering having a mastectomy or have been prescribed one, but want a second opinion – book an appointment with Dr. Rohan Khandelwal or visit us at the CK Birla Hospital.