Simple/Total Mastectomy

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

71943 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Tel: 760-776-7600