Breast Surgery Procedures

World-class treatment

Most women who have breast cancer will be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or some combination of these treatments:

  • Surgery, including sentinel node biopsy

  • Reconstructive surgery

  • Radiation therapy, which destroys cancer cells

  • Systemic treatments, which affect the entire body, including

  • Chemotherapy, which uses medication to kill cancer cells

  • Hormonal therapy

  • Biological therapies

Advanced Breast Surgery

Our world-renowned surgeons offer a variety of surgical approaches to breast cancer patients, depending on the individual circumstances. Some of the things that go into making a decision include tumor size, its location, breast size, and the preferences of the individual patient. Some of the surgical options that may be offered for breast surgery include:

Lumpectomy – In this surgery, only the cancerous tissue is removed, along with a rim of normal tissue surrounding the tumor. This surgery is considered “breast-conserving” surgery. Post-operative radiation is required after a lumpectomy.

Mastectomy – The removal of all breast tissue. Types of mastectomy include skin-sparing, nipple-sparing, and modified radical. Your doctor can discuss the meaning of these terms with you. 

Often, the lymph nodes in the underarm (axillary) are involved, and they must be biopsied or removed during surgery. Two surgical procedures that are commonly done include:

Sentinel lymph node biopsy – The sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes to receive cancer cells from breast tumors that have spread. In this procedure, your surgeon will map, remove, and examine the sentinel nodes under a microscope to determine whether the tumor has spread

Axillary lymph node dissection – The axillary lymph nodes are removed when cancer has spread to them

Reconstructive Surgery

Many people undergoing breast surgery will also choose to have reconstructive surgery, and there are options.

  • Oncoplastic surgery combines tumor resection (removal) with cosmetic outcomes within the context of lumpectomy, or breast-conserving surgery. If this is your preference, you and your surgeon will discuss this in detail before any procedures.

Other patients choose post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. There are 2 types:

  • Autologous tissue reconstruction, which uses muscle and fat taken from the patient’s body (usually the back or stomach) to re-create the shape of a breast

  • Tissue expander and implant reconstruction, which uses tissue expanders followed by saline or silicone implants.

Everyone is different, and there is no one right way. When planning surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you all of the surgical options, as well as options for reconstruction. Together, you can make decisions based on clinical information, your surgeon’s advanced clinical expertise, and your own preferences.


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