This surgery removes one or both breasts. Most often, it's used to treat breast cancer. We also use it to prevent breast cancer in those who have a very high risk for the disease. Let's take a moment to learn more.

Different types of surgery

First, know that there isn't just one type of mastectomy. We could remove the entire breast, including all of the skin and tissue. We could remove the breast tissue, nipple and areola, but spare the remaining skin. Or, we could remove the breast tissue, but spare the nipple, areola and breast skin.

Lymph node removal

During your mastectomy, we may also take out lymph nodes from under your arm. We study these to see if your cancer has spread.


A mastectomy may also involve reconstruction. This is when we surgically rebuild your breast. Sometimes we start reconstruction at the same time you have your mastectomy. It begins just after your breast is removed. Or, it may be done at a later time. You may need more than one procedure.


To learn more about your mastectomy options, talk to your doctor.