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Types of breast cancer surgery

discussing-breast-cancer-surgery-with-a-doctorEveryone experiences feelings of shock and disbelief after getting a breast cancer diagnosis. Lots of different things will race through your mind.

Every person’s treatment protocol is customized based on what will best help them battle their breast cancer.

For some patients, breast cancer surgery may be a crucial part of their treatment plan, in combination with interventions like chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.

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Keep reading to learn more about the most common surgical procedures involved in breast cancer treatment.

Common breast cancer surgeries

The different types of procedures that some breast cancer patients may undergo as part of their treatment include:

  • Mastectomy: Surgery in which the entire breast is removed
  • Lumpectomy: Surgery in which part of the breast tissue is removed
  • Lymphadenectomy: Surgery in which nearby lymph nodes are removed
  • Breast reconstruction surgery: Surgery to rebuild the look and the shape of your breast after a mastectomy or lumpectomy

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Mastectomy is the medical term for the invasive operation in which a skilled surgeon removes all breast tissue from one or both breasts (and, in some cases, nearby tissues as well).

Mastectomies are often done to treat breast cancer, but the procedure is also sometimes done to prevent breast cancer in women who are at high risk.

Some of the different types of mastectomies are:

  • Simple or total
  • Modified radical
  • Radical
  • Partial
  • Subcutaneous

Beyond peace of mind, patients who have a mastectomy often don’t need to undergo painful, time-consuming radiation therapy as part of their treatment. They also typically have a lower risk of battling recurrent breast cancer and needing additional surgery.


A lumpectomy is considered a “breast-conserving” or “breast preservation” procedure. That’s because during a lumpectomy, a surgeon leaves most of the breast skin and tissue. They only remove the “lump” (or the breast cancer tumor (and other abnormal tissue) and a minimal amount of surrounding normal tissue). This operation is also sometimes called an excisional biopsy.


An lymphandenectomy is an operation in which one or more lymph nodes (or groups of lymph nodes) near the breast cancer tumor are removed to prevent the cancer from spreading further (or metastasizing).


Breast reconstruction surgery is always optional and up to the patient. Some women choose to wear breast forms or pads to restore symmetry between their breasts after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Others opt for breast reconstruction.

Your provider can help you determine when would be the best time to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, and most health insurance companies will pay for most of the cost of the procedure since it is not considered cosmetic surgery.

Explore the complete guide to cancer care | Logansport Memorial

At the Logansport Memorial Women’s Health Center, you will meet with expert clinicians and oncologists who work with the latest technology to detect, handle, and manage breast cancer early—with or without surgery—when it is the most treatable.

Request an appointment online or by calling (574) 722-3566.

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TOPICS: Breast Care, Women's Health