Surgery for Breast Cancer

Considering Breast Reconstruction?

The Scott & White Division of Plastic Surgery offers expert breast reconstructive services for women undergoing lumpectomy or mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be done at the time of your lumpectomy or mastectomy, or at a later date.

To learn more, see:
Breast Reconstruction:
Is it Right for You?

Surgery is often used to treat breast cancer. Our philosophy at Scott & White Breast Cancer Clinic is to preserve breast material whenever possible.

Often patients desire a whole mastectomy, but many times it’s best to preserve breast tissue and perform a lumpectomy with radiation treatment. With new radiation techniques that kill cancer but save the tissue around the cancerous area, you now have more options for safely saving part of your breast.

Your team of cancer specialists will work with you to help you decide what kind of surgery is best for you, depending on the stage of your cancer and other factors. As with all surgeries, there are some risks. Your surgical oncologist will discuss those risks with you. At Scott & White, your surgical oncologist will see you through treatment and help you manage any resulting side effects.

Surgical Options

Oncoplastic Surgery

Oncoplastic surgery is the combination of breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery to restore and improve the appearance of the breast.

Major benefits of oncoplastic surgery include:

  • Symmetric breasts after lumpectomy, which can help women recover psychologically as well as physically.
  • Surgery is completed before radiation therapy, avoiding the risks of wound-healing problems that can occur with post-radiation surgery. Increasing the potential to removing all cancerous cell in the initial surgery, thereby minimizing the need for additional surgery

Lumpectomy (Breast-Conserving Surgery/Partial Mastectomy)

A lumpectomy is surgery to remove the solid cancerous mass in your breast. With this surgery, only the tumor and minimal adjacent tissue is removed.

Sentinel node biopsy

While removing the tumor, your surgeon will remove a lymph node around the tumor to determine the presence of cancer in the lymph. The nodes are checked with a blue dye to determine the presence of cancerous cells.

Axillary lymph node dissection

If cancer is found in the sentinel node, your surgeon will remove the lymph nodes under your arm as well. The presence of cancer in the lymph will help determine future treatment, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy


A total mastectomy is surgery to remove the tumor or tumors and the entire breast and adjacent lymph nodes if necessary.

A radical mastectomy is surgery to remove the tumor or tumors and the breast, chest muscles, and lymph nodes, and fat and skin as necessary.

Prophylactic Mastectomy

Prophylactic mastectomy is the surgical removal of a breast or breasts in women who are determined to be high risk for developing breast cancer.

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