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Published Apr 24, 21
2 min read

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Lymph nodes may be removed either as part of the surgery to remove the breast cancer or as a separate operation. The two main types of surgery to remove lymph nodes are: is a procedure in which the surgeon removes only the lymph node(s) under the arm where the cancer would likely spread first.

is a procedure in which the surgeon removes many (usually less than 20) underarm lymph nodes. ALND is not done as often as it was in the past, but it might still be the best way to look at the lymph nodes in some situations. To learn more about these procedures, see Lymph Node Surgery for Breast Cancer.

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A woman having a mastectomy might want to consider having the breast mound rebuilt to restore the breast’s appearance after surgery. In some breast-conserving surgeries, a woman may consider having fat grafted into the affected breast to correct any dimples left from the surgery. The options will depend on each woman’s situation.

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You may have a choice between having breast reconstruction at the same time as the breast cancer surgery (immediate reconstruction) or at a later time (delayed reconstruction). If you are thinking about having reconstructive surgery, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon your mastectomy or BCS.

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To learn about different breast reconstruction options, see our section on Breast Reconstruction Surgery. Surgery for advanced breast cancer Although surgery is very unlikely to cure breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, it can still be helpful in some situations, either as a way to slow the spread of the cancer, or to help prevent or relieve symptoms from it.