Radical mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the breast, underlying chest muscle (including pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), and lymph nodes of the axilla are removed as a treatment for breast cancer.
It was developed and first performed by William Stewart Halsted in 1882. From about 1895 to the mid-1970s about 90% of the women being treated for breast cancer in the US underwent the radical mastectomy. This is a very morbid surgery and is not performed except in extreme cases.
Today, there are three main categories of mastectomy:
- total (simple) mastectomy,
- modified radical mastectomy,
- partial mastectomy.