What Are The Risks Of Having A Mastectomy?

What Are The Risks Of Having a Mastectomy?

Mastectomy is a major surgical procedure of removal of breast affected by breast cancer. Like every surgery, mastectomy too has its own set of risks. They include:

Numbness: The patient may feel numbness or tenderness around the surgical area. This can happen because the nerves are cut during the surgical procedure.

Pain: The patient may complain of extra sensitivity around the area of surgery. This may also be because of the irritated nerve endings. This feeling is temporary and may go once the nerves start growing back.

Infection: There may be an increased risk of infection in the surgical area. Care must be taken that this does not happen. Infection can usually be discovered in the early stages. The doctor should be consulted with regard to the signs and symptoms of infection.

Blood Accumulation: Sometimes blood accumulates under the wound which further leads to fluid collection under the scar. Such problems usually resolve by themselves. No matter what, the doctor should be made aware of if problems arise like this.

Scar Tissue: Mastectomy can bring a risk for scar tissue to form and build over time. These scar tissues can cause pain of not treated properly.

Withering of Skin: As it is known that blood vessels are cut during mastectomy, it can pose a risk when the body tries to heal the surgical wound. If there is a lack of blood flow to the flaps of the incision, the skin may wither which needs to be trimmed by the doctor.

What Are The Risks Of Having A Mastectomy?

Why is Mastectomy Necessary?

Mastectomy is a surgical procedure required to treat patients with breast cancer. This involves removal of the entire breast affected by cancer. This is essentially done when a patient cannot be treated with lumpectomy surgery, which spares most of the breast. Sometimes, women having a high risk of getting a second cancer have to go for double mastectomy which includes removal of both the breasts.

What Are The Types Of Mastectomy?

Simple Mastectomy: If a small cancerous tumor is present has not spread to the nearest lymph nodes, a simple mastectomy may be done. The patient will be given general anesthesia while the surgeon will remove the entire breast along with the nipple & areola. The patient might have to stay overnight for observation.

Modified Radical Mastectomy: Modified radical mastectomy is required when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes near the breast. In this case, the patient’s areola, nipple, breast along with the lymph nodes will be removed under general anesthesia. The patient has to stay in the hospital for at least a night.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy: The next type is the skin-sparing mastectomy. In this, the surgeon removes the areola, nipple and breast, but leaves the skin in place. This is typically done when mastectomy is immediately followed by reconstruction surgery. In such case, the patient has to stay for an average of 5 nights in the hospital. The cost of breast reconstruction surgery should be additionally covered.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: Nipple-sparing mastectomy is a type of variation of the skin-sparing one. The breast tissue is removed in this procedure but the breast skin along with the nipple is left intact. This procedure is generally followed by breast reconstruction surgery. It must be remembered that, the surgeon at the time of the surgery will remove the breast tissue first beneath the nipple and areola and check for the presence of cancer cells. In case cancer is found in this tissue, the nipple has to be removed to prevent the spread of cancer. Some surgeons give a dose of radiation in the nipple tissue during the surgery even if cancer is not found. This is done to reduce the risk of cancer from coming back.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 2, 2018

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