Depending on the size and location of the tumor, mastectomy may be a great option to treat breast cancer. Simple mastectomy is the removal of all breast tissue; the armpit lymph nodes are left in place. A radical mastectomy is a simple mastectomy accompanied by a complete axillary lymph node recess. If the simple mastectomy procedure is not followed by immediate breast reconstruction, the healing period is usually two weeks.
During the simple mastectomy, the surgeon removes all tissue, including the skin and the nipple, to make sure that all of the cancer cells are removed. The need for a simple mastectomy is based on various factors, such as the size of the breast, the number of lesions, the aggressive nature of cancer, the possibility of undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy, and the patient's tolerance to other risk factors.
Doctors use simple mastectomy when:
the area of cancerous area is large compared to the size of the breast,
cancer cells are present in more than one part of the breast,
you have had breast-conserving surgery and the margin of healthy tissue near the tumor is not completely free of cancer cells.
Although a simple mastectomy is generally considered safe, there are some risks of side effects or complications. The most common side effects are:
Nerve damage resulting in muscle weakness
Numbness and tenderness
Pain in the shoulder
Hematoma (an accumulation of blood at the surgical site)
It may take 2-3 weeks to return to work after a simple mastectomy, if you undergo any additional treatments, this time may be prolonged.
In the simple mastectomy breast tissue, nipple and areola (the dark skin around the nipple) are removed, but the pectoral muscle under the breast or the lymph nodes under the arm are not. However, a lymph node biopsy can be done to evaluate the tumor results in the laboratory after the surgery. If adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended, it will be given after the simple mastectomy procedure. If radiation therapy and chemotherapy are offered together, radiation therapy will likely follow chemotherapy.
Your treatment process begins with an online consultation. Our experts listen to your complaints, your health story, your tumor progression status, and your expectations; They will inform you about whether you need a simple mastectomy or other treatments. It is important to share all your health information that may be useful at this stage. If available, please share your diagnosis and treatment process documents, imaging results and information about your current health status with the health providers during this online consultation.
After your first evaluation for simple mastectomy, treatment is finalized and you want to move on to the second step, we offer a list of clinics that meet the criteria you provide us. You will then examine all of them and decide on one of them. Depending on your choice, we move on to planning your trip and the entire treatment process.
When you arrive at the clinic, you will have a face-to-face consultation with your doctor. Everything about your simple mastectomy surgery will be discussed and decided during this consultation. The doctor will ask you some questions to try to understand your expectations and concerns better and also make you understand what you should expect from your treatment and the potential risks or complications of the procedure. Your doctor will explain the whole process clearly and try to simulate it as much as possible, in order you to feel comfortable and ready.
Before the simple mastectomy surgery begins, your doctor will conduct physical and blood tests to make sure that you are in acceptable health status for the process. Every patient is required to undergo medical tests to ensure that nothing can hinder the success of the procedure and if any risk obtained, doctors will try to eliminate them first.
After the whole preparation period, it's time to relax and trust your experienced doctor and clinic, who will help you to get rid of the tumor you have and to take a step to a healthier life. The simple mastectomy will consist of the following steps:
Administration of Anesthesia: Depending on the extent of the surgery, local or general anesthesia may be used. This decision will be made by your surgeon before the surgery considering your health status and special requirements and you will be informed about it.
Surgery: Once the anesthesia kicks in, the surgeon makes an incision, above or very close to the tumor, then removes it with a margin of healthy tissue around it. The surgeon does not perform axillary lymph node dissection during the simple mastectomy procedure. The nipple and areola are also preserved, except for certain tumors, located behind the nipple and areola. The skin is then closed with stitches or special staples. The wound is covered with a bandage During the procedure, a drain is often placed at the level of the incision. It evacuates liquids and secretions that can accumulate in the operated area. This drain is removed by the nurse on the decision of the surgeon. Removing the drain is not painful. The hospital stay can last 1 to 4 days. This period varies depending on the surgery performed, your general state of health and your post-operative recovery progress.
Post-operative Consultation: A post-operative consultation takes place 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery. During this consultation, the surgeon checks the proper progress of the recovery process; he or she provides the histological results and then directs the patient to a chemotherapist or a radiotherapist if additional treatment is considered necessary.
You can take a shower 48 hours after simple mastectomy surgery. Using a bathtub is not allowed. You should be careful about not to use any soaps, creams or lotions over the incision unless your doctor or nurse says the opposite. You should also dry the surgical area gently by using a clean towel.
Wearing soft, comfortable and loose-fitting clothing makes you feel more comfortable after surgery.
As soon as you feel comfortable, you can start wearing a bra.
You need to sleep in a position where you feel comfortable and place your arm on a pillow when you are sleeping.
You should add more fiber to your diet after simple mastectomy surgery to prevent constipation.
You can start exercising slowly and gradually about 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Heavy lifting is not allowed.
If you are concerned about any symptoms after the procedure, talk to your doctor. Make sure your doctor understands your concerns.
It is common to wait 6 weeks before returning to work after a simple mastectomy. If you will have additional treatments, the time away from work may become longer.
Is a Simple Mastectomy Procedure Painful?
Post-operative pain due to injury to the skin or muscles is generally very moderate and justifies taking analgesics for a few days.
When Can I Have Breast Reconstruction Surgery After Simple Mastectomy?
The breast reconstruction procedure can be done during simple mastectomy surgery or it can start after the cancer treatment is completed.
How Does Simple Mastectomy Differ from Total Mastectomy?
During a simple mastectomy, the surgeon removes the breast tissue, nipple, areola, and skin but not all the lymph nodes. However, in a total mastectomy surgery, the entire breast (including the breast tissue, skin, areola and nipple, and most of the underarm (axillary) lymph nodes) are removed.
Learn more about Simple Mastectomy in Turkey by comparing costs and reviewing the clinics and doctors.
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