Mastectomy is a type of surgery performed to remove the breast. The most common mastectomies are known as simple (or total) mastectomy and modified radical mastectomy. During these procedures, the chest muscle beneath the breast is not removed. As a result, arm strength remains. Keeping the chest muscle also makes reconstruction lot easier.
Simple (total) Mastectomy
During a simple mastectomy, the breast tissue (lobules, ducts, and fatty tissue) and the nipple are taken out. This surgery most often requires a hospital stay. Based on the results of surgery and follow-up tests, more treatment may be required.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
This type of mastectomy is normally done to treat invasive cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. During the procedure, the breast tissue and a strip of skin with the nipple are taken out. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out. (These are lymph nodes in the arm pit.) The removed nodes are tested for cancer. Sometimes a surgical drain is used to stop fluid from building up. This drain usually stays in for 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery. Modified radical mastectomy almost always requires a hospital stay. Based on the results of the surgery and follow-up tests, more treatment can also be needed.
Right after surgery
You will wake up in the recovery room. You may have an IV (intravenous) line to deliver fluids and medicines. You will have a firm bandage (dressing) wrapped around your chest. There can also be a drain coming out of it. Pain medicines will be given to you as required. A nurse will confirm your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. You'll possible stay in the hospital for at least a day.
You will be given directives on how to care for the dressing and drains, what kind of pain medicines you should use, and how to take care of yourself as you recuperate. You may be given arm exercises to do as you recover. Make sure you understand all the instructions and know when you need to next see your doctor.
Risks and Complications of Mastectomy
Any type of surgery has some risk. Risks for mastectomy with reconstruction include:
• Pain or numbness
• Bleeding or infection
• Swelling at the breast area
• Stiffness of the shoulder
• Fluid collection (seroma) in the region where the tumor was removed
• Long-term swelling of the hand and arm (lymphedema)
• Wound-healing problems and scarring
Talk with your doctor about the risks related to your surgery and what you can do to help prevent problems.
When to call your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following after surgery:
• A change in the manner the drainage looks or increased drainage
• Increased pain, warmth, swelling, or redness at the incision
• Cough or shortness of breath
• Pain in the chest or calf
• Bleeding that soaks the dressing
• Any other problems your doctor told you to watch for and report
Make sure you know how to reach your doctor in case problems come up. Know what number to reach with questions or problems after office hours, on weekends, and on holidays, too.
The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com
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