Mastectomy is the medical treatment option for breast cancer where the entire breast and nearby tissues are surgically removed. It is the way to treat cancer and prevent breast cancer in women. Earlier, Radical Mastectomy with complete breast removal, lymph nodes in underarm and chest muscles under breasts was the standard treatment option for breast cancer. But, with the surgical breakthrough in the past few decades, women were given more options than before. Now, less invasive treatments are also available to treat breast cancer and one such option is Mastectomy. There are different types of Mastectomy and the right type of surgery for you depends on gender health, age, menopause status, size of the tumor, its grade and stage, and whether or not the lymph node is involved.
Mastectomy is performed as a part of treatment for breast cancer. Doctors usually prescribe Mastectomy when:
The type of Mastectomy right for you depends on the size of the breasts and tumors
Mastectomy surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The surgery involves making an elliptical incision around the breast and then the breast tissue is removed. Depending upon the type of Mastectomy performed, other parts may or may not be removed during the procedure. Irrespective of the type of Mastectomy performed, the lymph nodes and the breast tissue that is removed will be sent to the laboratory for further examination.
If breast reconstruction surgery is included along with Mastectomy, then the plastic surgeon will work with the breast surgeon and provide the right breast reconstruction surgery suitable for you. The breast reconstruction surgery involves placing of temporary tissue expanders in the chest and it would form new breast mount over time. After the surgery is performed incisions are closed with stitches. Small tubes would be placed in the place of the breast which is removed so that the excess fluid can be drained after the surgery. The tubes are carefully stitched in place and the ends of the tube are attached to a small drainage bag.
After surgery, the patient would be transferred to the recovery room where their breathing, pulse and blood pressure would be monitored. You would receive instructions on how to care at home. After reaching home, you are required to keep the surgical region dry and clean. Special bathing instructions will be shared with you by the doctors that you need to follow while taking a shower. As the dressing gets wet, you need to replace it with a dry and clean dressing. You will also be shared with the instructions to take care of the drainage tube. The tube would be removed after 2 weeks of the surgery during your first follow-up appointment.
Pain management medications would be prescribed to some patients and they need to take time. However, the severity of pain varies depending upon the location and amount of tissue removed in the surgery. Soreness may occur and last for few days. Certain exercises would be given to the patients that they need to perform at home for faster reverie.
The recovery of Mastectomy is faster as compared to other breast surgeries. You can resume your regular activities within a few weeks. This depends on the type of Mastectomy performed. To speed up the recovery patients are asked to perform certain exercises and take proper measures at home. Driving is also restricted for the initial few weeks and your doctor would let you know from where you can start driving again.
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