A mastectomy is a type of breast cancer surgery. It involves removing breast tissue, and, depending on the type of mastectomy, the nipple, areola, skin, and underarm lymph nodes. The goal of the procedure is to treat or prevent breast cancer, and it is an appropriate option for many women.
Whether you have already had a mastectomy or are in the process of planning one, breast reconstruction is an option available to you. The board-certified plastic surgeons at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery can help you look ahead to develop an integrated approach to mastectomy and reconstruction. Please call 303-706-1100 to speak to a compassionate member of our team.
Who Should Get a Mastectomy?
A mastectomy is a more extensive breast cancer surgery than a lumpectomy. Some women have the option to choose between a mastectomy and breast conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy. For others, a mastectomy is the clear way to proceed.
Your decision to get, or not get, a mastectomy is an important one. It should be made based on careful discussions with your oncologist, who can determine if this breast cancer surgery is the best choice in your situation. Our plastic surgeons will happily be part of this discussion to ensure you pick an option that will meet your aesthetic needs.
Types of Mastectomies
There are several ways to perform a mastectomy. The right approach for you will depend on a variety of factors, all of which will be reviewed by your oncologist, general surgeon, and our plastic surgeons. The most common techniques are:
- Skin-sparing mastectomy. If you are a candidate for an immediate, single-stage breast reconstruction, then your surgeon may recommend a skin-sparing mastectomy. This technique leaves the skin covering the breast intact, although the nipple and areola will probably be removed.
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy. This technique leaves the nipple and areola unaffected. Only the underlying breast tissue is removed. This procedure is also known as a "subcutaneous mastectomy." Not every woman is a good candidate for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, but your surgeons can help you decide if it is right for you.
- Prophylactic mastectomy. Some women inherit a harmful mutation of two specific genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. These women have a 60% risk of developing breast cancer. Depending on the recommendation of an experienced genetic counselor, women with mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes may wish to undergo a risk-reducing prophylactic mastectomy.
- Unilateral mastectomy. In this technique, only the cancerous breast is removed. A reconstruction that will match the contralateral side is performed.
- Bilateral mastectomy. In this technique, both breasts are removed instead of one. Many women who choose double mastectomy are at a high risk of developing breast cancer in the other breast, so both are removed as a preventive measure.
There are a few other versions of mastectomy, which you and your oncologist and general surgeon will discuss as you plan your treatment. We will work closely with you and your medical team to develop a comprehensive treatment plan meeting your expectations.
Your Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction Options
After a mastectomy, many women choose to reconstruct their breasts. Reconstruction is an option every woman should be informed of prior to mastectomy, and you have a right to clear, accurate information so that you can decide whether a reconstructive procedure is right for you.
Reconstruction of one or both breasts can be achieved with the following techniques:
Procedures to reconstruct the nipple and areola and refine the look of the breast are also options post-mastectomy.
As you decide whether post-mastectomy reconstruction is right for you, our plastic surgeons will make sure you have all the information you need. Your reconstructive choices are dictated in part by the type of mastectomy you have; however, our plastic surgeons also want to hear what your wishes are and what you expect out of the procedure. Then they can make personalized, informed recommendations about your breast reconstruction.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Denver Breast Reconstruction Surgeons
To learn more about breast reconstruction after mastectomy in the Denver area, please call The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery at 303-706-1100. Our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons are located in Lone Tree, Colorado, and are proud to serve women from across Colorado and the entire country.