Total Mastectomy
Movie Center: Women's
Run Time: 4:22


What is a Total Mastectomy?

Total Mastectomy is the removal of the breast.

In most cases, mastectomy is required in order to remove cancerous tissue from the body.

The extent of tissue removed is determined by the amount of cancer present in your body.

A total mastectomy involves the removal the breast, but not the removal of lymph nodes or chest muscle that lies underneath the breast.

Your doctor has recommended that you undergo a total mastectomy because the cancer in your breast has progressed to the point that it is in danger of spreading into other parts of your body and the only way to make sure that all of the disease has been eliminated is to remove the entire breast.

This is major surgery and the procedure will permanently change the outward shape and appearance of your chest. So make sure that you ask your doctor to carefully explain the reasons behind this recommendation.

Two incisions will be made beginning at the middle of the chest, one along the top and one along the bottom of the breast - coming together just under the arm.

The skin is then lifted up and away, revealing the tissue underneath.

Beginning at the clavicle - or collar bone - the surgeon then begins to carefully cut the breast tissue away from the muscles that lie just beneath.

When the breast has been completely freed, it is lifted away, exposing the top layer of muscle, called the pectoralis major. If the cancer has spread to this muscle, your doctor may elect remove it as well.

When the surgical team is satisfied that they have done all that they can to remove the cancer, they will release the muscles and other tissue.

One or more drainage tubes will be temporarily inserted at the site while the healing process begins.

They will then close the incision. Finally, a sterile bandage is applied.
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