What Type of Mastectomy Is Right for You?

Breast Cancer
February 24, 2021
4 min read
What Type of Mastectomy Is Right for You?

Choosing to have a mastectomy is a big decision. When you and your doctor decide that a mastectomy is right for you, the question then becomes what type of breast construction, if any, will be most beneficial for your survival and long-term life? 

Types of Mastectomy

Every patient is different. Depending on the severity of the cancer’s spread, your doctor may recommend one of the following surgeries:

Simple or Total concentrates on the breast tissue itself:

  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • The surgeon does not perform axillary lymph node dissection (removal of lymph nodes in the underarm area). Sometimes, however, lymph nodes are removed because they happen to be located within the breast tissue taken during surgery.
  • No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.


Modified radical involves the removal of both breast tissue and lymph nodes:

  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection is performed, during which levels 1 and 2 of underarm lymph nodes are removed.
  • No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.


Radical is the most extensive surgery:

  • The surgeon removes the entire breast.
  • Levels 1, 2, and 3 of the underarm lymph nodes are removed.
  • The surgeon also removes the chest wall muscles under the breast.


Partial removes the cancerous part of the breast tissue

  • Also removes some normal surrounding tissue. 
  • While lumpectomy is technically a form of partial mastectomy, a partial mastectomy removes more tissue than in lumpectomy. 


Nipple-Sparing removes all of the breast tissue but the nipple is left alone.

Going Flat

What if you don’t want to have your breast reconstructed? That is an option as well. Some people don’t want to deal with special bras, magnets, adhesives, or prosthetics. This is normally called “going flat.”

You might wonder if anyone will notice if you go flat, or if you will be the only one who chooses not to reconstruct? A 2014study found that about 56% of women had reconstruction after mastectomy, which means that 44% did not. 


When we think of prosthetics we think of arms and legs, but there are breast prosthetics as well There are two main types of breast prostheses, and each may be right for you at different times and for different reasons:

  • A     lightweight model (polyfill or foam) is recommended when you're recovering from surgery because it's most     comfortable. It also feels good during warm weather and swimming and can be machine-washed. Most lightweight breast prostheses can be worn in the     pool or any body of saltwater.
  • A     silicone prosthesis may look more realistic, natural, and feel more natural to you for everyday wear. Two types of silicone prostheses are available:
  • asymmetrical: designed only for the left side or only for the right side
  • symmetrical or pear-shaped: these work on either side and can be worn sideways to fill out the side of your bra, or straight up for center fullness and      cleavage

Learn More About Breast Reconstruction Surgery

At BASS Medical Group, we strive to find the perfect fit for you when it comes to the long-term decision of breast reconstruction surgery. Our talented doctors and surgeons will discuss all the options with you so you can make the right choice for your life. Call (925) 350-4044 to learn more about our services.