Radical mastectomy

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Radical mastectomy
Mastectomy (radical).jpg
Much tissue is removed in a radical mastectomy
ICD-9-CM 85.45
MeSH D015409

Radical mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the breast, underlying chest muscle (including pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), and lymph nodes of the axilla are removed as a treatment for breast cancer.

It was developed and first performed by William Stewart Halsted in 1882. From about 1895 to the mid-1970s about 90% of the women being treated for breast cancer in the U.S. underwent the Halsted radical mastectomy. This is a very morbid disfiguring surgery and is no longer performed except in extreme cases. Prior to 1975, if a woman had a lump in her breast, and the lump proved to be malignant, a radical mastectomy was performed immediately, in the belief that it was necessary to prevent the further spread of the cancer.[citation needed] If the lymph nodes tested benign, the surgery was considered successful.[citation needed] The operation was very stressful for women, because, in many cases, they would go under anesthesia not knowing whether a suspicious lump was malignant or not and wake up to find that a radical mastectomy had been performed.[citation needed]

Today, there are three main categories of mastectomy:

  1. Total (simple) mastectomy
  2. Modified radical mastectomy
  3. Partial mastectomy