Susan A. Seedman MD, FACS, PC Aiding in the Fight Against Breast Cancer Breast Specialty Care

Surgical Procedures for Breast Cancer

Axillary Node Dissection - removal of multiple lymph nodes under the arm to help prevent the spread of cancer. A long-term side effect of this procedure may be lymphedema.

Breast Reconstruction - may be done at the time of mastectomy or later after other cancer treatments , such as chemotherapy and radiation, are finished. It may include the use of tissue expanders, implants and or muscle transplants. This is usually done by a plastic surgeon in consultation with the breast surgeon.

Mammosite Placement - see section on Office Based Surgical Procedures

Mastectomy - removal of the breast for the treatment of breast cancer

  • Simple mastectomy- removal of the breast only. This may be done for very small tumors or for prophylaxis to help prevent breast cancer
  • Modified radical mastectomy - removal of the breast along with lymph nodes. This may be done for cancers that are larger and may have spread to lymph nodes.
  • Radical mastectomy-removal of the breast, lymph nodes and muscles of the chest wall. This is not done very commonly but it may be appropriate for tumors that are large and extend into the chest wall muscles.

Sentinel Node Biopsy - removal of one or more lymph nodes that have been marked by dye or radioactive material injected into the area surrounding the tumor. These lymph nodes are sent for evaluation and, if cancer cells are found to be present, may lead to an axillary node dissection. Lymphedema is not as common as with a full axillary node dissection but still may occur.

Tylectomy/lumpectomy - removal of the breast tumor with a normal rim of breast tissue surrounding it.

Venous Port Placement - placement of a small subcutaneous (under the skin) container attached to a tube that goes into a vein. The container has a plastic wall that can be punctured by a needle through the skin. It is used for the injection of fluid, chemotherapy, antibiotics or nutrients. It can also be used for drawing blood from the vein for evaluation.