A double mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove both breasts, usually to treat breast cancer or, in some cases, to prevent breast cancer in women who are at high risk of developing the disease. Depending on a patient's preference and prognosis, a physician may recommend one of several kinds of double mastectomy procedures, including:
Total (or simple) double mastectomy: removes the entirety of the breast, including the nipple and areola
Modified radical double mastectomy: a more aggressive treatment that removes both breasts as well as the lining over the chest muscles, the lymph nodes under the arm and, possibly, part of the chest wall muscles as well
Skin-sparing or nipple-sparing double mastectomy: removes both breasts as in a total mastectomy procedure but leaves most of the skin with or without the nipple; this may be recommended if immediate reconstructive breast surgery will be done
For women considering a double mastectomy as a treatment for cancer or as a preventative measure, the Brigham and Women's Hospital Surgical Oncology Division combines world-class expertise with compassionate care at a state-of-the-art medical facility in Boston. Our surgical oncologists offer many minimally invasive surgical approaches, including breast-conserving therapies, new techniques for reconstructive surgery, image-guided surgery, and innovative pre-operative medical treatment. These advanced surgical techniques make it possible for many women to have less invasive surgery, including lumpectomy procedures.
A double mastectomy procedure at the Surgical Oncology Division
The Surgical Oncology Division is one of the cancer surgery programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, in Boston's Longwood Medical area. Brigham and Women's Hospital provides the latest in surgical techniques for a wide variety of cancers, including prostate cancer therapy, ovarian cancer treatment and many other therapies.
Our surgical teams understand the many challenges that a procedure like a double mastectomy presents for a woman and her family. Consequently, at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center we not only offer the most advanced treatment from specialists who are leaders in their field, but also a wide range of support services that can help women with the physical and emotional challenges they face before and after their surgery. These include individual and family counseling, nutritional counseling, palliative care and pain management, educational programs and support groups and a boutique with special products for women with cancer and patients who have had a double mastectomy.