Decoding Double Mastectomy

The surgical removal of both breasts is known as a double mastectomy. Mastectomy is most often performed to cure breast cancer; however, in some circumstances, women and men who are assumed to be at high risk of breast cancer have the procedure performed prophylactically, that is, to avoid cancer rather than treat it. In males, it is also the surgical technique used to extract breast cancer tissue. In addition to their physical recovery, people who undergo a double mastectomy must understand their internal recovery in the weeks and months following the procedure. However, there are various forms of surgery: 

  • Modified radical mastectomy – The breast, areola, nipple, and much of the surrounding tissue are all removed during the procedure. The lining over chest muscles, as well as parts of the muscle itself, are both affected. Under the belt, axillary lymph nodes are also removed.
  • Nipple-sparing mastectomy – The breast tissue is extracted, but the majority of the skin including the nipple and areola is protected.

Who is the perfect candidate for bilateral or double mastectomy? 

Whether a patient needs a double mastectomy or not is decided by their surgeon who is the best to judge the gravity of the situation. However, over the years we have witnessed the following types of patients benefit the most from the procedure – 

  • Patients who fall under the high-risk category and are aged between 35 to 40.
  • Patients who have a high-risk score above 50%. 
  • Patients who have a history of chest radiation.  
  • If the patient has two or more tumors 
  • If the patient has one large tumor 
  • Patients who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive. 
  • If the patient has widespread or malignant-appearing calcium deposits (microcalcifications) throughout the breast.  

The procedure of double mastectomy  

A general anesthetic is used to perform a double mastectomy in the hospital. The patient is put into a deep sleep using a mixture of IV (intravenous) drugs and gases. The surgery’s extent will be determined by the type of mastectomy the patient is getting.

In most cases, the doctor makes an oval incision in the breast and extracts the breast tissues through it. If the patient is having a nipple-sparing mastectomy, the incision will remove the nipple-areola complex. 

The doctor uses a particular type of incision for nipple-sparing mastectomies. When the operation is finished, the doctor will use stitches to close the incision. He or she will also insert thin tubes into the surgical site to remove excess fluid to prevent pus formation and complications.

The duration of the operation will be determined by the procedure and whether or not immediate reconstruction is needed. A simple mastectomy takes 2 to 3 hours on average. So, a double mastectomy would take longer. This time will be extended if immediate reconstruction is undertaken.

Double mastectomy cost 

Treatment for early-stage breast cancer is determined by a number of aspects, including the size and stage of cancer, the woman’s age, comorbid conditions, and possible treatment and medication care. These are all factors that determine prophylactic mastectomy cost. However, the cost of a double mastectomy is a bit more expensive than the cost of a single mastectomy.

Medigence: Allowing better healthcare decisions
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