Mastectomy may be recommended if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are at a high risk of developing it. Many factors will help you and your breast surgeon determine whether a mastectomy is your best option. Much depends on the type, location, and stage of breast cancer you have. There are different types of mastectomy and several new advances. Your breast cancer surgeon will carefully review these and other options with you. We help you weigh the pros and cons and choose the type of mastectomy with which you are most comfortable.
Single, Double Mastectomy
A unilateral mastectomy, or single mastectomy, refers to the removal of one breast. A bilateral mastectomy, or double mastectomy, refers to the removal of both breasts.
Removal of all breast tissue plus the overlying skin, nipple, and areola.
Removes the breast tissue and nipple but preserves the outer layer of skin.
Removes the breast tissue but saves the outer layer of skin and the nipple, improving the cosmetic appearance of the breast. Research indicates many women who undergo nipple-sparing mastectomies and skin-sparing mastectomies have higher self-esteem and better body image when compared to those who have total mastectomies.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
Combines a total mastectomy and an axillary lymph node dissection (removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit area).
Prophylactic Mastectomy (Preventative Mastectomy)
If you are at a high risk for breast cancer, you may be considering a prophylactic mastectomy, also known as preventative mastectomy or risk-reducing mastectomy. It's the removal of one or both breasts to reduce the risk of breast cancer. It may be done as a total, skin-sparing, or nipple-sparing mastectomy. Your breast cancer surgeon may also discuss this option with you if genetic testing has confirmed the presence of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, as these are the most common causes of hereditary breast cancer.