Radical Mastectomy

This was one of the first breast surgeries that was used to treat breast cancer. Then, breast surgeons operated under the assumption of “When in doubt, take it out,” since breast cancer can spread in unpredictable ways. In this procedure, done in 1979, the breast tissue, nipple, skin, underlying chest muscles, and lymph nodes in the armpit were all removed. It’s rarely performed today because of the high rate of complications and death from the surgery.

Skin Sparing Mastectomy

In this operation, the breast, nipple and areola were removed without the removal of the breast skin or chest muscles. The remaining skin can be used to perform a cosmetic reconstruction of the breast that would involve the use of an implant. This woman pictured here got the operation only on her left side in 1994, and no breast reconstruction was done.

Bilateral Mastectomy With Reconstruction

In this patient, the breast tissue, nipple, and areola were removed, while saving the surrounding skin of both breasts in 2001. This person then had breast reconstruction, which included getting implants and reconstruction of the nipples. Note the incision lines over where the reconstructed nipples are located.

Bilateral Nipple Sparing Mastectomy With Reconstruction

After research showed that many breast cancers do not spread to the nipple, surgeons started performing surgeries that removed the breast tissue, but saved the nipples. In this operation, done in 2008, only the breast tissue was removed, sparing the nipple and the areola. This women then got reconstructive surgery during the same procedure.

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