Why is Mastectomy Required & Why Does The Nipple Have To Be Removed In A Mastectomy?

Why is Mastectomy Required?

Mastectomy is a major surgery 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 involves removal of both the breasts.

Why is Mastectomy Required?

Why Does The Nipple Have To Be Removed In A Mastectomy?

The nipple has to be removed in case of a typical mastectomy to ensure that the cancer does not spread in other parts of the body. Removal of nipple will be helpful because it reduces the chances of the cancerous cells from coming back again. In recent practice, nipples are removed in case of large tumors which might be potentially cancerous. Also, if the nipple tissues are seen to have cancer cells, they are removed in order to treat breast cancer.

What Are The Types Of Mastectomy Done?

Simple Mastectomy: In case of a small tumour which although might be cancerous but has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes, a simple mastectomy may be recommended. The patient will be placed under general anaesthesia while the surgeon will remove the entire breast along with the nipple and areola. The patient might have to stay overnight for observation.

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

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy: Another form of mastectomy includes skin-sparing mastectomy. In this, the surgeon removes the breast, nipple and areola, but leaves the skin in place. This is typically done when mastectomy is immediately followed by reconstruction surgery. This may include the time period of 6 hours for the surgery. In such case, the patient has to stay for five nights or longer 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.

What May Be The Possible Risks Of Mastectomy?

The possible risks of mastectomy may be varied. Few of the risks involve are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection on the surgical site
  • Pain on the site where the surgery has taken place.
  • Swelling in the arm.
  • Tissue scarring on the surgical site.
  • Pain in the shoulder and feeling of stiffness.
  • Feeling of numbness particularly under the arm from where the lymph nodes are removed.
  • Build up of blood in the surgical site.

Is Breast Reconstruction Necessary After Mastectomy?

Most of the women may find it important to go for breast reconstruction after one of their breast is removed. Sometimes, when the patient has to go for double mastectomy, they may choose not to go for the reconstruction surgery. Some women may choose to wear breast forms to have the contour of breast under their clothes without surgery.

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:December 8, 2017

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