While there are varying types of breast surgery, all of them have the singular goal of removing cancerous growth from surrounding healthy tissue. Usually, the size of the tumor, and the spread of cancer to surrounding tissue or lymph nodes, usually dictates the type of procedure your doctor or oncologist will recommend.
A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure in which only the tumor and some surrounding tissue is removed. A few centimeters of surrounding tissue are usually removed leaving "clean margins" to avoid any chance of recurrence. The same happens with a partial mastectomy, although this procedure always involves more extensive removal of tissue.
A modified radical mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast, including the skin, areola, nipple, and axillary lymph nodes. Now performed rarely, a radical mastectomy includes not only the entire breast and axillary lymph nodes but the chest muscles underneath the breast as well.
For those who are genetically
prone or otherwise at high risk, prophlatic breast surgery is the removal of one or both breasts to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. According to studies, prophylactic mastectomy in women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation may be able to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 95%.
Up ahead, check out detailed information on each procedure including pre-operative preparation and post-operative care.
From the Susan Komen Foundation, with a solid report on the pros and
cons of mastectomy and breast conserving surgery, related illustrations,
plus a Flash tutorial on types of local therapy.
Cancer Surgery Choices
from NCI with a brief overview, information on staging, lymph nodes
and lymphedema, useful charts comparing lumpectomy, breast-sparing surgery
Procedures for Breast Cancer
More information from the American Cancer Society on available options
including a discussion on how surgeons decide on suitable operations
with more on lumpectomy, mastectomy and lymph node removal, pre-operative
preparation and post-operative care.
WebMD guide to the topic with related illustrations and information
on lumpectomy, partial or segmental mastectomy, total mastectomy, modified
radical, and radical mastectomy.