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What’s the Difference Between a Mastectomy and a Lumpectomy?

Breast surgery is among the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Patients commonly pursue breast surgery as a component of cancer treatment and other health conditions.

If you need breast surgery, you may wonder what the difference is between a mastectomy and a lumpectomy. Both procedures remove breast cancer, but the location and stage of your cancer are significant factors when choosing between the two.

Your oncologist and surgeon will help you weigh the benefits and risks of a mastectomy versus lumpectomy to ensure you make the best choice for your long-term health and recovery.

What Is a Lumpectomy?

A lumpectomy is recommended for patients with less advanced or invasive forms of breast cancer. Also known as a breast biopsy or breast-conserving surgery, a lumpectomy removes breast masses and a rim of normal surrounding tissue while leaving most of the breast intact.

A lumpectomy may be done for benign diseases and smaller, less advanced cancers or biopsy. Not everyone is a suitable candidate for a lumpectomy.

If you have a lumpectomy for cancer, following the procedure, the pathologist will check whether any cancer remains. If it appears there may be some cancer left behind, you may need to undergo a further removal of additional breast tissue in a second surgery.

You may need post-operative radiation treatment or chemotherapy depending upon your particular situation and the findings from the pathologist, which will be determined by your oncologist.

Benefits & Risks of Lumpectomies

  • A lumpectomy is a less invasive surgery focusing on only removing cancerous tissue.
  • This same-day procedure allows you to return home as quickly as possible.

However, because lumpectomies are less invasive:

  • You have a higher risk of recurrent cancer, which could require additional surgery to remove.
  • You may need radiation therapy following your lumpectomy to prevent cancer from returning.

What Is a Mastectomy?

A mastectomy is a procedure that removes the entire breast. This surgery is commonly performed in four different forms:

  • A simple (total) mastectomy removes the breast but leaves the lymph nodes intact unless they’re located within the breast tissue.
  • A modified radical mastectomy removes the breast and some lymph nodes to determine whether cancer cells have spread beyond the breast.
  • A partial mastectomy only removes portions of the breast, much like a lumpectomy, though more tissue is removed in total.

Benefits & Risks of Mastectomies

  • A mastectomy provides the most peace of mind by eliminating the risk of recurrent breast cancer and the need for additional surgeries. People with high genetic risks of breast cancer may prefer a mastectomy for this reason.
  • Radiation therapy is usually not necessary after a mastectomy.

Drawbacks of mastectomies include:

  • The procedure may require a longer hospital stay and recovery time.
  • Permanent breast removal can have adverse psychological effects. Therefore, many women elect to have breast reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, in which case Surgical Professionals can refer you to a plastic surgeon.
  • There may be more post-operative wound complications.

Which Breast Surgery Is Right for You?

While it’s worthwhile to take an active role in your treatment, you don’t need to decide which breast surgery to get all on your own. Your oncology team and oncological surgeon will discuss your options and their expected outcomes with you to give you all the information you need ahead of your breast surgery.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have a breast lump that requires further workup, the team at Surgical Professionals can provide the care and treatment you need. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with our surgeons to discuss whether a mastectomy or lumpectomy may be best for you.

Remember, our goal is to help you achieve excellent long-term results, so if we believe surgery is not in your best interest, we won’t hesitate to tell you.

Contact Surgical Professionals today at 480-892-2456 for more information about breast surgery in Phoenix, Mesa, and Chandler, AZ.

Please note that the above information is provided for general purposes only and may not apply to your specific situation.

What Our Patients Have to Say

AMAZING! Dr. Ju is an awesome Dr he did an emergency surgery on me, he was so calm and professional. He made what could have been a horrible experience so easy. Thank you, Dr. Ju,
I have had 2 surgeries by Dr. Ju, gallbladder removal & a small fatty tissue tumor in my lower back. Both we’re successful with no complications. Dr. Ju is not only highly skilled as a surgeon, but he is also very personal & compassionate.

John Maas /

March, 2020 Dr. Gray performed my thyroid cancer surgery. Everything went as he said it would. He is a very competent and gifted surgeon. I would highly recommend him as a surgeon.

Shirley LaRocca /

Really trust this Dr. Ju. I am glad I had him to do emergency surgery on me and to put things back to normal.

Robyn Kleinman /

July 7 2016 Dr. Grey took the time to answer all my questions even after I had left the office . I was referred to him after a failed attempt with another surgeon and so far I’m 14 hours post surgery and doing good . Thank you Jennifer for your efforts and Dr. Grey

Tiff in Phoenix, AZ /

What can I say Dr. Ju did my very first ever surgery, and wow he was amazing, I was scared out of my mind but he made me feel comfortable, I healed nicely and was no longer in pain. He is an amazing surgeon god definitely blessed his ability.

Agina Blaw /

Dr Gray did an excellent job twice when my father had hernias. One was an emergency situation, and the other was not. Both times, Dr Gray showed expertise in diagnosing the problem, performing the surgery, setting our expectations and follow through after the procedure. I definitely would recommend him for your surgical procedures.

Self-verified patient of Dr. Devin L Gray  /

Dr. Ju saved my life. I had surgery back in 2010 (almost 10 years ago). He is an amazing surgeon with a wonderful concern for his patients. His staff were also very professional and caring during a very difficult time in my life. Thank you, Doctor Ju.

Rose Martin /

Had an inguinal hernia Dr Gray did a great job I strongly recommend his skills

Self-verified patient of Dr. Devin L Gray  /

Dr Ju is amazing. It was my first surgery and I was scared. I came thru it no problems. Thank you!

Wendy Foody /

My entire experience with Doctor Gray was of the utmost professionalism courtesy kindness by all of his staff included. Doctor Gray was dynamic in his experience and his knowledge. In my experience I thought I was taken care very well which gave me a great level of confidence in my experience through this surgery.

Brett Barker /

This Doctor saved my life and I have nothing but admiration for him. Dr. Brian Ju was my surgeon for the removal of my gall bladder 2 weeks ago. He is the most phenomenal and adept surgeon I’ve ever experienced. He even coordinated with the anesthesiologists to ensure that the anesthesia had anti-nausea elements because of my history with nausea!

Sherri Smith /

I am not from the valley but was here to visit my son and his family. Dr. Gray and his staff were amazing in getting me in and actually scheduling my surgery the day after I had my first visit. The office staff – especially Alex is absolutely the BEST. Everyone is extremely efficient and at the same time – very caring. I can not thank Dr. Gray and his staff more! Very grateful and I wish I could package what you have going on and take it home with me! THANK YOU!!!!

Kathi in Pueblo, Colorado /

I was fortunate have Dr. Ju for two surgeries. He was an excellent surgeon for one, and his bed side manor was outstanding. I felt very confident with Dr. Ju and his staff. If I were to have any procedures or surgeries done in the future, I would schedule them with Dr. Ju and the excellent staff at Surgical Professionals Inc. Thank you again to a wonderful professional staff.

Robert Reindl /


Self-verified patient of Dr. Devin L Gray  /

10 years ago, gall bladder, now hernia repair. I specifically went back to him because of his bedside manner and professionalism. I highly recommend him to anybody looking for a positive experience.

Jeff Hals /

Excellent bedside manner and surgical skill. Would definitely recommend him!

Karen Garcia /