Mastectomy is considered a major surgery for the below reasons:
- The procedure involves permanent removal of either one or both breasts, which itself is a major risk factor.
- Usually, the procedure may last up to 4 hours depending on the severity of the disease.
- It is performed under general anesthesia.
- Patients may also need to stay in the hospital for a few days depending on their recovery rate.
- It is a physically and emotionally draining procedure.
What is a mastectomy?
Mastectomy is a surgical procedure that involves either partial or total removal of breast tissue to treat or prevent breast cancer and reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. Breast reconstruction may be done along with this surgery.
There are different types of mastectomy techniques and they are:
- Total mastectomy: In this surgery, the entire breast is removed, but not the lymph nodes under the arm or the muscle tissue beneath the breast. Sometimes both breasts are removed, especially when mastectomy is done to try to prevent cancer.
- Partial mastectomy: Where your doctor removes only the part of the breast that has turned cancerous along with some surrounding tissue.
- Tissue- and nipple-sparing mastectomy: For women who are planning on having reconstruction right away, a skin/tissue-sparing mastectomy can be done. With this procedure, most of the skin over the breast (other than the nipple and areola) is left intact. This can work as good as a simple mastectomy. The amount of breast tissue removed is the same as with a simple mastectomy. Women usually prefer it because there is less scar tissue, and the reconstructed breast seems more natural.
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy: This is like a skin-sparing mastectomy, but the nipple and areola are left behind. This procedure is more often an option for women who have a small, early-stage cancer near the outer part of the breast, with no signs of cancer in the skin or near the nipple.
- Radical mastectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the entire breast, many of the lymph nodes under the arm, and the muscles of the chest wall under the breast. This procedure is usually done if cancer is growing into the muscles under the breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy: In this surgery, the entire breast is removed along with lymph nodes under the arm or axillary lymph node dissection.
When is mastectomy recommended?
Doctors may recommend a mastectomy if a patient has:
- People suffering from breast cancer that cannot be treated with other options
- Two or more tumors located in different areas of the breast
- The tumor is big, relative to the size of your breast
- Multiple calcium deposits that have tested positive for cancer
- A gene mutation that puts the patient at high risk
- A connective tissue disorder that limits the body’s tolerance for radiation
- Lumpectomy's failure in removing tissue entirely
What are the common side effects of mastectomy?
Patients who have had a mastectomy may stay in the hospital for a few days depending on the type of surgery. Patients who have immediate reconstruction following their mastectomy may stay a little longer. Following a mastectomy, many women go home with drains in their chests. The surgeon may remove the drains during a follow-up office visit. Other side effects may include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Stiffness in the shoulder
- A buildup of fluid around the scar (seroma)
- Changes in sensation in the breast, nipple, or arm
- Fluid buildup and arm swelling after lymph node removal (lymphoedema)
- Pain and stiffness of the shoulder
- Skin loss at the site of the surgery
- Buildup of blood
- Hard scar at the site of the surgery
What is the outlook of the patients after mastectomy?
Most people who have a mastectomy recover well. The patient may probably feel sore for a few days and maybe on painkillers or antibiotics for a few days. Wounds may take around 2 to 3 weeks to heal, but it may take several months to fully recover chest and arm areas. As per research, the success rate of mastectomy is under 85%; however, cancer recurrence cannot be ruled out. It is most effective in treating early-stage breast cancer. Overall recurrence rates are decreasing and survival rates are holding strong.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Is a Mastectomy Major Surgery? Related Articles
Brevital Sodium (Methohexital Sodium for Injection)Brevital Sodium is used in conjunction with the use of other general anesthetic agents and parenteral agents, and other uses. Brevital should be used only in hospital or ambulatory care settings that provide forcontinuous monitoring of respiratory (e.g. pulse oximetry) and cardiac function. Serious side effects of Brevital Sodium include circulatory depression, respiratory depression (including apnea), cardiorespiratory arrest, twitching, emergence delirium and others.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
What you should know about breast cancer
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
- One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
- There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
- The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors.
- There are 11 common types of breast cancer and 4 uncommon types of breast cancer.
- Breast cancer early signs and symptoms include
- a lump in the breast or armpit,
- bloody nipple discharge,
- inverted nipple,
- orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange),
- breast pain or sore nipple,
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple.
- Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice.
- Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
- Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer and Coping With StressBeing diagnosed with breast cancer is stressful. Learning relaxation techniques, exercising, eating well, getting adequate sleep, receiving psychotherapy, and maintaining a positive attitude can help you cope. Creating documents, such as an advance directive, living will, and durable power of attorney will outline your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your care.
Young Women & Breast CancerIs breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and other crucial breast cancer facts.
Breast Cancer in Young WomenAbout 5% of cases of breast cancer occur in women under the age of 40 years old. Some risk factors for breast cancer in young women include a personal history of breast cancer or breast disease, family history of breast cancer, prior radiation therapy, and the presence of BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations. Breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and screening mammograms may help detect breast cancer. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy.
Where Breast Cancer SpreadsWhen breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it often goes to these five places: the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain. See how breast cancer metastasis affects the body, possible symptoms, and treatment.
Breast Cancer SlidesLearn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and drug therapies as well as the survival rate for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer PreventionLifestyle changes, a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, exercise, and weight reduction can help reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. It's important to be aware of how risk factors such as family history, lifestyle factors, breast conditions, radiation therapy, and hormonal factors may influence your chances of developing breast cancer. Mammography and breast self-examinations are crucial steps in breast cancer prevention.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Breast Cancer?A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, so it's important to write down all your questions before meeting with your doctor.
Breast Cancer QuizThis Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. Increase your awareness of breast cancer now!
CancerCancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
cryoprecipitateCryoprecipitate is a blood product containing specialized insoluble blood proteins known as coagulation factors that regulate the clotting and clot-dissolving processes. Cryoprecipitate is obtained from plasma, the fluid component of blood, and is used to treat patients with blood clotting (coagulation) disorders and to control hemorrhage during major surgery or during and after childbirth. Common side effects of cryoprecipitate include transfusion-related complications, allergic reactions, and post-transfusion bruising (purpura).
gentamicinGentamicin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to prevent and treat many types of bacterial infections, and is typically administered as an injection. Gentamicin is also used to prevent surgical infections, and to treat conditions such as cystic fibrosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infective endocarditis. Common side effects of gentamicin may include reduced urine output, kidney damage, vertigo, dizziness, hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), balance problems (vestibular), impaired coordination, balance and speech (ataxia), gait instability, skin reactions (swelling, rash, itching), and others.
hetastarchHetastarch, with the chemical name of hydroxyethyl starch, is a starch derived from corn, used to increase the fluid volume of blood when other adequate treatments are not available. Do not use hetastarch in the following conditions severe congestive heart failure (CHF), severe bleeding disorders, and severe kidney failure. Common side effects of hetastarch include hypersensitivity reactions, circulatory overload, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, intracranial bleeding, and others.
Male Breast CancerMale breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
OxyContin (oxycodone)OxyContin is a prescription opioid pain medication used to manage pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment. Serious side effects of OxyContin include noisy breathing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep (sleep apnea), slow heart rate or weak pulse, lightheadedness, confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizure, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, and worsening tiredness or weakness.
propofolPropofol is an intravenous anesthetic drug used for general anesthesia and sedation during surgical procedures. Common side effects of propofol include injection site burning, stinging or pain; low blood pressure (hypotension), reduced cardiac output, elevated blood pressure (hypertension), pause in breathing (apnea), lung impairment (respiratory acidosis), impaired movement, high level of emulsified fats in the blood (hyperlipidemia), and high triglyceride level in blood (hypertriglyceridemia). Abuse of propofol can cause death and other injuries.
What Is the Difference Between Sedation and General Anesthesia?Sedation is medically induced temporary depression of consciousness prior to procedures that cause pain or discomfort to patients. Pain relieving medications (analgesics) are also usually administered as an adjunct to sedation. General anesthesia induces full unconsciousness with a breathing machine necessary.
succinylcholineSuccinylcholine is a skeletal muscle relaxant used for medical procedures done under general anesthesia, including tracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, and surgeries. Common side effects of succinylcholine include postoperative muscle pain, jaw rigidity, muscle twitch (fasciculation), respiratory depression, cessation of breathing (apnea), low or high blood pressure (hypotension or hypertension), irregular heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias), slow or rapid heartbeat (bradycardia or tachycardia), cardiac arrest, increase in intraocular pressure (IOP), high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia), severe life-threatening drug reaction with excessively high temperature (malignant hyperthermia), salivary gland enlargement, excessive salivation, rash, hypersensitivity reactions, and others.