At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we take a comprehensive approach to surgery for breast cancer and can in many cases offer women innovative breast-conserving treatments and reconstruction options.

Surgery is usually the first treatment for breast cancer. At one time, most women were treated by a radical mastectomy — the removal of the entire breast and the muscles of the chest wall. Surgical techniques have been refined over the years, however. Today, in many cases, it is possible to remove less of the normal breast tissue, and radical mastectomy is not necessary.

Learn more about our comprehensive approach to surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Our experienced and compassionate surgeons are highly skilled in performing mastectomies, during which the entire breast, usually including the nipple, is removed.

We perform lumpectomy as an outpatient surgical procedure and often combine it with a biopsy of the sentinel lymph nodes, the ones closest to the tumor, to check if they’ve been affected by the cancer.

Lymph Node Biopsy
To plan an effective treatment strategy for you, we’ll have to know if the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes. Our surgeons routinely perform lymph node biopsies during mastectomy or lumpectomy procedures.

Breast Reconstruction
We offer many options for reconstruction to women who’ve had a breast removed, including implant surgery and tissue transfers such as TRAM, gluteal free, and latissimus dosi flap procedures.

Breast Prosthesis
Many women who’ve had a mastectomy to treat breast cancer choose to wear an artifical external breast prosthesis.

Lymphedema, swelling in your limbs that can be very uncomfortable, can occur when some or all of the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes are removed as part of treatment for breast cancer.