Comprehensive Overview of Complete Breast Tissue Removal Surgery

Total mastectomy, a procedure that has not been widely performed for about 20 to 25 years radikal mastektomi, involves the removal of all breast tissue, including the skin and subcutaneous tissue. This surgical approach is typically reserved for cases of extensive breast cancer or as a preventative measure for individuals at high risk. Understanding the intricacies of this procedure, its implications, and potential alternatives is crucial for anyone considering or undergoing breast surgery.

Overview of Total Mastectomy

Total mastectomy, also known as simple mastectomy, is a surgical procedure that removes the entire breast, including the breast tissue, nipple, and areola. Unlike a lumpectomy, which only removes the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue, total mastectomy removes the entire breast. This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and may involve a hospital stay of one to two days.

Reasons for Total Mastectomy

Total mastectomy is often recommended for the following reasons:

  1. Extensive Breast Cancer: Total mastectomy may be recommended if the breast cancer is extensive or if there are multiple tumors present in different areas of the breast.
  2. High Risk of Recurrence: In some cases, individuals with a high risk of breast cancer recurrence may choose to undergo total mastectomy as a preventive measure.
  3. Large Tumor Size: Total mastectomy may be recommended if the tumor is large in relation to the size of the breast, making it difficult to remove with a lumpectomy.
  4. Genetic Factors: Individuals with certain genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, which increase the risk of breast cancer, may choose to undergo total mastectomy as a preventive measure.

The Surgical Procedure

During a total mastectomy, the surgeon makes an incision either horizontally along the breast crease or vertically from the nipple to the breast crease. The breast tissue, nipple, and areola are removed, along with the lining over the chest muscles. In some cases, lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed to check for the spread of cancer.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After a total mastectomy, patients may experience pain, swelling, and bruising in the chest area. Drainage tubes may be placed to remove excess fluid, and patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities for several weeks. Rehabilitation, including exercises to improve arm mobility and strength, may be recommended to aid in recovery.

Alternatives to Total Mastectomy

In some cases, alternatives to total mastectomy may be considered, such as:

  1. Lumpectomy: Also known as breast-conserving surgery, lumpectomy involves removing the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue, preserving the breast.
  2. Partial Mastectomy: Similar to a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy removes a larger portion of breast tissue but preserves more of the breast than a total mastectomy.
  3. Breast Reconstruction: After a total mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery can be performed to restore the shape and appearance of the breast.


Total mastectomy, while not as common as it once was, remains an important surgical option for individuals with extensive breast cancer or at high risk of recurrence. Understanding the procedure, its implications, and potential alternatives is essential for making informed decisions about breast surgery. Consultation with a qualified healthcare provider is crucial for anyone considering total mastectomy or other breast surgery options.

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