Simple/Total Mastectomy Palm Desert
In a simple (or total) mastectomy, the entire breast is removed, in3cluding the nipple and the areola, the darker-colored area of skin around the nipple. A simple mastectomy is advised when there is a need or desire to remove the entire breast.
What to Expect
A simple mastectomy without reconstruction may be completed in approximately two hours. A single incision is made that reaches about halfway across the chest allows the surgeon to remove the breast and examine the lymph nodes.
After the surgeon completes the mastectomy, a plastic drain is placed to draw off fluid. The end of this drain is attached to a pocket-sized suction device. Patients are instructed in the care and monitoring of the drainage tube until it is removed, about a week to ten days after the surgery.
Most patients do not experience excessive pain following a simple mastectomy and return home after a one- or two- night stay in the hospital. It is common to use pain medication for the first few days after surgery followed by an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed.
Patients can expect to feel very fatigued following surgery, and often will feel emotionally and physically drained. Some may wish to seek counseling or a support group to cope with their changed appearance.
In most cases of early-stage breast cancer, radiation treatment is not recommended after simple mastectomy. Radiation may be recommended if:
- The tumor is larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter
- Cancer cells are found in several lymph nodes
- The cancer cells are close to the margins (edges) of the tissue removed, which increases the likelihood that the cancer may recur in that area