Modified Radical Mastectomy

Mastectomy is a surgery performed to treat or prevent breast cancer by removing the breast tissue. Modified radical mastectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire breast (along with the areola and nipples), lymph nodes under the arm, and the lining over the chest muscles. It is indicated for patients with early-stage breast cancer, locally advanced breast cancer (cancer spread to the chest wall, skin or lymph nodes, but not other organs), inflammatory breast cancer (swelling and redness of the breasts) and Paget’s disease of the breast (rare cancer in the skin of or surrounding the nipple).

Modified radical mastectomy is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision across the side of your chest. The entire breast tissue, lymph nodes and chest muscle lining are removed. The surgeon then inserts surgical drains (tubes to collect excess fluid) and closes the incision. As with any surgery, modified radical mastectomy involves certain risks and complications which include infection, bleeding, swelling in your arm, fluid formation at the site of surgery and numbness (especially in the upper arm).

Modified radical mastectomy does not involve the removal of the chest muscles, and preserves sufficient healthy tissue and skin for the reconstruction of the breasts. If you choose to rebuild your breasts after modified radical mastectomy, your surgeon will perform a surgery called breast reconstruction. During reconstruction, your surgeon creates a breast mound using an implant or tissue flap taken from your stomach, thighs, back or buttocks. The reconstructive surgery can be done during or after mastectomy.