This operation has been available in a variety of different forms for at least 100 years. The mastectomy has been modified so that currently, the operation removes only the nipple and a small amount of surrounding skin along with all the underlying breast tissue. Additionally, some lymph glands under the arm are removed. No muscles are affected and side effects are rare. Radiation is usually not required.
This operation is used often for very large or extensive tumors, or for people who cannot accept the requirements of a treatment plan such as radiation therapy. This surgery is also usually done with an overnight hospital stay, but can be done as an outpatient. Average recovery time is seven to ten days. Older forms of mastectomy, such as radical mastectomy, which involves the removal of a large amount of tissue and chest muscle, are only rarely performed.
For patients who wish or require mastectomy, our group has developed an association with the Plastic Surgery Department at Indiana University. This allows all forms of breast reconstruction to be available locally.
The plastic surgeons come to our office regularly and coordinate these surgeries so breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy, if desired. The most sophisticated forms of breast reconstruction are available to our patients. These procedures require a typical hospital stay of two to five days. Recovery averages from two to six weeks for full recovery, depending on the procedure performed.