When the diagnosis of Breast Cancer has been confirmed, the next step in the treatment is the surgery that has to be done.

What is breast cancer surgery?

Breast cancer surgery is the removal of Part/whole breast which is involved with cancer.

The Main Surgeries Are

  • Radical Mastectomy
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy.
  • Simple Mastectomy

All these Mastectomy procedures may or may not be associated with,

  • Axillary Lymph Node Clearance.
  • Axillary Lymph Node Sampling.


 Why So Many Procedures? How Are They Different?

The Difference in the surgical technique is – How much breast tissue is removed with the tumour,

Which in turn depends on?

  • how big the tumour is, (Size)
  • where it is located, (Site)
  • whether it has spread (metastasis)
  • your feelings regarding removal of breast (Cosmetic)

Breast Conservative Surgery, Breast Reconstruction Surgery will also be discussed with you.


You Are A candidate for lumpectomy if

  • You have Benign Breast Lump
  • Breast Cancer Lump Smaller than 3-4 cm.(small early stage breast cancer)

The surgeon removes the lump in the breast with a surrounding margin of normal tissue.

This tissue is sent for histopathology, if the margins come out to be clear then it is safe to proceed to chemotherapy/Radiation.

A separate incision may be made in the Axilla for the lymph node.

This procedure is not for you if you have

  • Large size tumour,
  • Multiple tumours,
  • Radiation therapy to the breast.


The different types of mastectomy involved

  1. Simple Removal of Breast, without lymph nodes(Simple Mastectomy)
  2. Removal Of

+ Complete Breast with nipple (Modified Radical Mastectomy)

+ Axillary Lymph Nodes,

+ Pectoralis Muscle Fascia.

  1. Removal Of

+ Complete Breast tissue (Radical Mastectomy)

+ Axillary Lymph Node

+ Pectoralis muscle.

Breast Reconstruction is offered by the Surgeon during counseling for the procedures.

What Anaesthesia is given?

The Surgery is done under General Anaesthesia.

How Long Is The Hospital Stay After Surgery?

Usually, the stay can last from 2-4 days depending upon the recovery from surgery.

Typically A patient is sent back home with the drain inside the surgery site.

Why The Drain? How Do I Take Care of It? When will it be taken out?

The drain is there to remove the fluids that are accumulating at the surgical site.

Daily care involves, Emptying the Drain, Recharging the drain, Drain site Care and Dressing.

When the daily drainage falls below 25-30ml then the drain will be removed.

What Should I look Out For in Dressing?

In case of

  • discharge from the suture line,
  • redness, black discoloration,
  • gaping of stitch line.

Inform the doctor immediately if any of this is present.

Why The Specimen Has Been Sent To Lab?

The breast with the tumour + Axillary Lymph Nodes Will be studied for

  • The Type Of Tumour
  • Margins of the tumour.
  • Involvement of muscle, skin
  • Metastasis to axillary lymph nodes.

The Detailed report will typically reach in 10-12 days.

Why Is This Important?

The staging is complete only after the histopathology, and this helps in making the strategy for further treatment, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy.

What Is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment used most often to describe drugs that kill cancer cells directly.

Sometimes it is referred to simply as “chemo”.

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