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Breast Surgery

Breast surgery is used to treat breast cancer, breast infection, non-cancerous breast tumors and other conditions. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove benign (noncancerous) growths as well as cancerous tumors and other disease.

At Temple Health, surgical breast care includes a full range of procedures – including breast reconstruction

Surgical Procedures

Your doctor will discuss procedures, benefits, risks and alternatives. Considerations include presence or possibility of cancer, lump size and location, age and health history.


Surgeons remove a portion or all of a breast tumor, and pathologists check this tissue for cancer.


Surgeons remove a lump, plus some surrounding tissue, and pathologists check this tissue for cancer.

Outpatient lumpectomies take about an hour. You might have general or local anesthesia, which means you’re awake but sedated with medicine so you won’t feel pain. Your surgeon removes the lump and takes surrounding tissues. A pathologist checks for cancer, and samples go to a lab for further testing.  


Surgeons remove entire breast, often including the nipple and surrounding skin to remove or prevent breast cancer.

You’ll receive general anesthesia for the procedure:

  • Nipple-sparing mastectomy – Surgeons remove your entire breast but leave the nipple and areola (colored area around nipple). Doctors may take underarm lymph node samples to see if cancer has spread.
  • Total (simple) mastectomy – Surgeons remove your entire breast, including the nipple and areola. Doctors may take lymph nodes.
  • Modified radical mastectomy – Surgeons remove your entire breast with the nipple and areola, and some lymph nodes.
  • Radical mastectomy (rare) – Surgeons remove the skin over your breast, all lymph nodes and chest muscles.
  • Skin-sparing mastectomy – Surgeons remove your breast with the nipple and areola, plus limited skin. Your surgeon may take lymph nodes.

You may have breast reconstruction during this surgery or later. Mastectomy takes two to three hours.

Temple Health Expertise

At Temple Health, our specialists work together to manage breast cancer and benign breast conditions. With decades of experience in women’s health, breast radiology, cancer care, surgery and other specialties, we understand the complex problems of breast disease. Our highlights include:

  • Skilled teams – Cross-disciplinary specialists share expertise at Temple University Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Doctors offer high-level capabilities in diagnostics, surgery, reconstruction, medical oncology, radiation oncology and other services for women with breast cancer.
  • Convenient care – At Fox Chase Cancer Center and Temple University Hospital, you have ready access to comprehensive care. This includes dietary counseling, support services, pain management, and onsite lab and pharmacy services.
  • Research leaders – Temple Health stays on the leading edge of breast care. Specialists participate in varied studies to advance care for people with all forms of cancer and breast disease.
  • Acute-care hospital – One of the region's most respected academic medical centers, Temple University Hospital offers exceptional cross-specialty care. Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus provides sophisticated surgical and oncology services in a convenient, community-based setting.

Ready for an Appointment?

Find a doctor near you, request an appointment, or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.