n. surgical removal of a breast. Simple mastectomy, performed for extensive but not necessarily invasive tumours, involves simple removal of the breast; the skin and if possible the nipple may be retained and a prosthesis (see breast implant) may be inserted under the skin to give the appearance of normality. When breast cancer has spread to involve the lymph nodes, radical mastectomy may be performed. This classically involves removal of the breast with the skin and underlying pectoral muscles together with all the lymphatic tissue of the armpit. This treatment may be followed up with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. In modern surgical practice a modified radical mastectomy, preserving the pectoral muscles, is more usual than the classical technique. See also lumpectomy.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.