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Breast Lump Excision

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Breast Lump Excision


Mastectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of breast tissue in order to treat breast cancer. It may also be performed in individuals at high risk of developing breast cancer. Let’s explore the mastectomy in detail, how it is performed, the types, and the associated risks and complications.

What is a Mastectomy?

A mastectomy or breast removal surgery involves the removal of breast tissue, typically performed as a treatment for breast cancer or as a preventive measure for individuals at high risk of developing breast cancer. It may involve the removal of one or both breasts, depending on the circumstances and the patient's preference.

The primary goal of a mastectomy is to remove breast tissue that may contain cancer cells, reducing the risk of cancer recurrence or preventing the development of breast cancer in high-risk individuals. In addition to the breast tissue, the procedure may involve the removal of nearby lymph nodes if cancer has spread to them or as a precautionary measure.

When Is Mastectomy Recommended?

Mastectomy or breast removal surgery is a procedure where the entire breast tissue is removed. It is indicated in several situations, including:

Breast Cancer: Mastectomy may be recommended as a treatment option for breast cancer in various circumstances, such as:

  • Large tumors relative to the breast size make breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) unfeasible.
  • Multiple tumors in different areas of the breast.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.
  • Recurrent breast cancer after previous lumpectomy and radiation therapy.
  • Presence of certain genetic mutations (e.g., BRCA1 and BRCA2) that increase the risk of developing breast cancer, leading to prophylactic mastectomy.

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): DCIS is a non-invasive form of breast cancer where abnormal cells are confined to the milk ducts. Mastectomy might be recommended in cases of extensive or high-grade DCIS.

Risk Reduction: A prophylactic mastectomy can be considered for individuals who are significantly at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This includes individuals with a strong family history of breast cancer or certain genetic mutations associated with an increased risk.

Severe Benign Breast Disease: In certain cases, mastectomy may be indicated when non-cancerous breast conditions like severe fibrocystic disease or phyllodes tumor are causing significant or recurrent symptoms.

Though there are multiple indications for a mastectomy, the decision to opt for it is It's important to note that the decision to undergo a mastectomy is highly individualized and should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. They will consider factors such as the specific characteristics of the breast condition or cancer, the individual's overall health, personal preferences, and available treatment options.

What Are The Types Of Mastectomy?

Types of mastectomy include the following:

  • Standard Mastectomy: A standard mastectomy is a procedure in which the breast tissue and the majority of the skin covering it are removed.
  • Skin-Sparing Mastectomy: This procedure removes the breast tissue while preserving as much of the overlying skin as possible. This allows for a more aesthetically pleasing breast reconstruction if desired.
  • Radical Mastectomy: Radical mastectomy is a procedure in which the entire breast, together with its skin, muscles, and the lymph nodes in the armpit, are removed.
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy: In addition to removing the breast tissue, this procedure also involves the removal of the axillary lymph nodes located under the arm. This is often performed if there is evidence that cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or as a precautionary measure.
  • Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: The breast tissue is removed here, but the nipple and areola complex is preserved. This option may be suitable for selected cases with small tumors and favorable locations.

How to Prepare For a Mastectomy?

Here’s how you can prepare for a mastectomy surgery .

  • Consultation and Evaluation: Your surgeon will discuss your medical history and analyze your symptoms. He/she will explain in detail how the procedure works and what to expect. 
  • Medications: Inform your surgeon about the current medications that you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and any supplements. They will advise you to stop certain medications such as blood thinners for a brief period of time in order to avoid the risk of bleeding during or after the procedure.
  • Lifestyle Changes: If you are a smoker, it is essential that you stop smoking before the procedure as it can impact the healing process and increase the risk of complications. Your surgeon may also suggest you make other lifestyle changes, such as having a balanced diet and exercising regularly, to improve your general health before the procedure.
  • Preoperative Instructions: Follow your surgeon's preoperative recommendations. This may involve fasting for a period of time refraining from particular meals or beverages, and arranging for transportation to and from the hospital on the day of the procedure.
  • Support System: Make sure that you arrange for help during your recovery phase. This may involve arranging for someone to accompany you to the hospital, help with domestic duties, and give emotional support during your recovery.
  • Planning for Recovery: Talk with your surgeon about your postoperative care and rehabilitation options. Understand the expected recovery time frame, activity limitations, and any assistive devices or equipment you may require following the surgery. Make any necessary arrangements, such as creating a pleasant recovery environment at home and arranging for any medical equipment or assistance that may be required.
  • Addressing Questions and Concerns: Use this time to discuss any concerns or questions you have with your surgeon. Understand the possible risks, advantages, and projected outcomes of the procedure.

What Happens During a Mastectomy?

During a mastectomy, several steps are typically involved in the surgical procedure. Here is a general overview of what happens during a mastectomy:

  • Anesthesia: The patient is usually given general anesthesia, which puts them into a deep sleep throughout the surgery. In some cases, local anesthesia combined with sedation may be used.
  • Incision: The surgeon makes an incision in the breast area, the size and location of which depend on the type of mastectomy being performed.
  • Breast Tissue Removal: The surgeon removes the breast tissue, including the glandular tissue, fatty tissue, and connective tissue. The extent of tissue removal depends on the type of mastectomy being performed.
  • Lymph Node Evaluation: The nearby lymph nodes are checked to assess if cancer has spread. They are removed if necessary.
  • Nipple and Areola Preservation (if applicable): In nipple-sparing or skin-sparing mastectomy, the nipple and areola complex, as well as a portion of the overlying skin, may be preserved. This is done when it is deemed safe and appropriate based on the location and extent of the cancer.
  • Closure: The surgeon closes the incisions with sutures or surgical staples once the breast tissue has been removed. In some cases, drains may be left in place to remove excess fluid and minimize the risk of postoperative complications.
  • Post-operative Care: Following the surgery, the patient is monitored in the recovery room before being transferred to a hospital room or discharged home. Pain management, wound care, and instructions for recovery are provided, including information on drains, medications, and any necessary lifestyle modifications.

It's important to note that mastectomy is a major surgical procedure, and the specific details may vary based on individual circumstances.

What to Expect After a Mastectomy?

You may expect the following after a mastectomy procedure.

  • Recovery Room: You will be closely observed in the recovery room after the surgery. You will be sent to your hospital room as soon as your respiration, blood pressure, and pulse have stabilized and you are awake.
  • Hospital Stay: After the surgery, you'll probably spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital. The complexity of the procedure, your overall health, and the need of any additional procedures will determine the duration of your stay.
  • Additional Procedures: Following a mastectomy, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be required. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor will provide you with advice regarding this.
  • Self-Care Measures: While returning home, your doctor will give you clear instructions on your daily activities, like how to shower, what to eat, what to do, and what to avoid. You will also be advised on how to take care of your incisions. 
  • Follow-Up: Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments in order to check your recovery. Drainage tubes, if any, will be removed during your follow-up appointments.
  • Recovery: You will generally be able to return to most of your regular activities within 4 to 6 weeks. This period however can vary from person to person.

What are the Benefits and Risks of Mastectomy?

Here are some of the potential benefits and risks associated with mastectomy:

Benefits of Mastectomy:

  • Cancer Treatment: Mastectomy can effectively remove the breast tissue containing cancer cells. 
  • Risk Reduction: For individuals at high risk of developing breast cancer due to genetic mutations (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2), a mastectomy can significantly reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
  • Precise Cancer Staging: Mastectomy allows for a thorough evaluation of the breast tissue and lymph nodes, providing important information for accurate cancer staging and determining the most appropriate treatment options.
  • Breast Reconstruction: Mastectomy creates an opportunity for breast reconstruction, which can help restore the appearance of the breast and improve body image. Reconstruction can be performed immediately after the mastectomy or at a later stage.

Risks and Considerations of Mastectomy:

  • Surgical Risks: Mastectomy, like any surgical procedure, carries certain risks, including bleeding, infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, blood clots, and poor wound healing. These risks are generally low but can occur in some cases.
  • Emotional and Psychological Impact: Losing one or both breasts can have significant emotional and psychological effects. It may impact body image, self-esteem, and sexuality. Seeking support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and loved ones can be helpful in coping with these challenges.
  • Post-operative Complications: Following a mastectomy, there is a risk of developing complications such as seroma (fluid accumulation), hematoma (collection of blood), lymphedema (swelling due to impaired lymphatic drainage), and changes in sensation or nerve damage in the chest or upper arm.
  • Impact on Range of Treatment Options: Mastectomy may limit certain options for breast-conserving surgeries, such as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. It's important to weigh the potential benefits of mastectomy against the possibility of alternative treatments.
  • Long-term Effects: Mastectomy permanently removes breast tissue, which means there will no longer be a natural breast sensation or the ability to breastfeed. These considerations should be discussed with the healthcare team before making a decision.

Every individual's situation is unique, and the benefits and risks of mastectomy should be carefully evaluated in the context of their specific case. The healthcare team, including the breast surgeon and oncologist, can provide personalized guidance, information, and support to help individuals make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty task of finding the best hospital, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest cost. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health and recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin! 

The power of Medfin in patient’s words


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“ Thank you Medfin. They ensured the whole process from selecting a very experienced doctor to offering the latest procedure at a very reasonable price. They also arranged a follow up post my surgery with the doctor to ensure my recovery was on track. Thank you for being there throughout”

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