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A mastectomy is the surgical removal of the breast. It is used to treat breast cancer.
Mastectomy procedures include:
Depending on the location of the tumor in the breast and other factors, some women may be able to have a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy. Skin-sparing mastectomy leaves most of the skin that was over the breast, except for the nipple and the areola. Nipple-sparing mastectomy saves the skin over the breast and it saves the nipple and areola.
The removal of the breast before cancer is diagnosed is called a prophylactic mastectomy. This type of mastectomy can be used to prevent breast cancer in women who have an extremely high risk of developing the disease.
Last Revised: June 28, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
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