Traditional mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast and usually some portion of the breast skin. Mastectomy is indicated if the involved area is too extensive for lumpectomy. A majority of the time this operation is followed by breast reconstruction at the same procedure.

People that are more likely to have the procedure of a mastectomy are those that have large areas of breast cancer or those patients that wish to remove the entire breast because of the possibility of breast cancer recurring in the future (prophylactic mastectomies). Although this procedure is typically done on a cancerous breast, it is sometimes also done on the healthy breast to decrease the risk of breast cancer in the future. For women who carry the BRCA mutation or are known to be at high risk for breast cancer, this surgery is sometimes done bilaterally (on both breasts) to maximize cancer-prevention.

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