Breast cancer surgery is done under general anaesthesia and usually takes one to two hours. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision, which may extend to the armpit if the lymph nodes are removed, and removes the breast. Usually one drain is left under the breast wound. If further lymph nodes are removed under the arm (axillary clearance) you will have a second drain also. Mastectomy surgery can be followed by immediate breast reconstruction, which is performed by our plastic surgeon.
Dissolving sutures are used in the wound. You will usually be in hospital one or two nights and go home with one drain. Our breast nurse will explain how to manage the drain.
A mastectomy is an operation that removes the entire breast, and is the treatment of choice for larger tumours or multiple tumours. It is also needed for women in whom it is not safe to have a partial mastectomy, because there is extensive cancer.
A simple mastectomy surgery includes the complete removal of the breast with no removal of lymph nodes. However, these days, mastectomy is usually accompanied by sentinel node biopsy, or axillary dissection.