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A mastectomy is when the breast tissue is removed, and possibly some surrounding tissue.  There are different types of mastectomies.


  • Simple mastectomy (total mastectomy)
    • Removal of entire breast, including nipple.
    • Sometime both breasts are entirely removed (double mastectomy).
    • Can be used as a preventative measure in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.



  • Skin-sparring mastectomy
    • Most of the skin over the breast, not including the nipple or areola, are left intact.
    • Often used when a woman chooses to have reconstruction surgery.


  • Radical mastectomy
    • Removal of the entire breast, underarm lymph nodes, and chest wall muscles under the breast. 
    • Rarely done, but may be used for large tumors growing in the chest muscles under the breast.





American Cancer Society