How Long Will a Double Mastectomy Take?
- A double mastectomy is a procedure to remove both breasts to get rid of cancer. Sometimes, this procedure is also performed to reduce breast cancer risk.
- The mastectomy procedure itself takes around two hours.
- If a woman opts to have her breasts reconstructed immediately after the mastectomy, that process will add several hours onto the procedure.
- To reconstruct the breast, surgeons can either use an implant or take tissue from elsewhere on the body and transplant it.
A double mastectomy is a procedure in which both breasts are removed to get rid of cancer. The procedure may also be performed as a preventative measure for women who are at a very high risk of developing breast cancer
The procedure typically only takes a few hours, but may take longer depending on what type of reconstruction a woman has opted to get. Some women decide to have their breasts reconstructed and have implants put in right after the mastectomy, while others don’t have reconstruction at all. Read More
“A double mastectomy typically takes about two hours for the cancer part of the operation, the removing of the tissue,” Dr. Elisa Port, Chief of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System, tells SurvivorNet. “The real length, the total length of the surgery, can often depend on what type of reconstruction [a patient] has.” Dr. Port notes that these days, most women do opt to have some sort of reconstruction. The length of these surgeries can vary a great deal. When implants are used, the procedure can take two to three hours (so the total surgery time would be around five hours). There is also the option to take one’s own tissue (usually from the belly area) and transfer it into the breast area — but this is a much longer procedure. “When you take tissue from another part of the body and transfer it to fill in the empty space where the breasts are, this is a very long operation,” Dr. Port says. “It can take anywhere from six to 12 hours because it’s really like having a tummy tuck and then transferring the tissue and grafting the tissue, connecting the vessels, so those tissues have blood flow to live in.”
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What can I do to prepare for a double mastectomy?
- What happens before and after the procedure?
- What are the benefits of using implants over my own tissue and vice versa?
- What will recovery look like after the procedure?
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