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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Mastectomy?

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

A mastectomy is done:

  • To treat breast cancer
  • To prevent breast cancer if you have a family history of the disease (occasionally done)
  • To treat severe side effects from previous treatment for breast cancer (rarely done)

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a mastectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Seroma (accumulation of clear fluid in the wound)
  • Infection
  • Swelling of the arm caused by accumulation of fluid in lymph nodes ( lymphedema )
  • Limited arm and shoulder movement
  • Numbness of skin on upper arm
  • Pain after the procedure (burning, stabbing pain where breast was removed)

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Recent or chronic illness
  • Use of certain medicines or dietary supplements

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before...