Breast cancer surgery

There are several types of surgical procedures used to treat breast cancer. Our surgical team in Naperville and Elmhurst includes experienced breast surgeons with expertise in innovative breast cancer surgeries.

We’ll take time to listen to you, discuss your options with you, and talk about what you can expect from surgery. We’ll also present possible options for reconstruction. Then we’ll work with you to develop your individualized plan of care, taking into consideration your unique needs and desired results. 

We offer many surgical innovations, including breast conserving surgery, direct reconstruction at the time of surgery, and oncoplastic surgery to preserve the size and shape of your breast.

Our Chicagoland breast cancer surgeons specialize in the following procedures to treat breast cancer:

Surgical options

Breast conserving surgery

  • Lumpectomy: A surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue.
  • Partial mastectomy
  • Quadrantectomy


In this procedure, a surgeon removes one or both breasts. The type of mastectomy is defined by the amount of tissue removed.

  • Total (or simple) mastectomy, where the breast tissue, nipple and areola are removed.
  • Skin-sparing mastectomy, used during a total (or simple) mastectomy. Skin is saved to accommodate tissue-expander breast reconstruction.
  • Nipple-sparing mastectomy, where the surgeon removes the breast tissue but spares the nipple and areola. This surgery is performed in conjunction with breast reconstruction. Not all women are candidates for this type of mastectomy.
  • Modified mastectomy
  • Radical mastectomy

Watch this video to learn about drain care and management following a mastectomy.

Lymph node surgery

This type of procedure is often used to determine if the cancer has spread to more than one of your lymph nodes.

Advanced breast reconstruction

Our plastic surgery team, including microsurgeons, is experienced in advanced breast reconstruction techniques.

  • Oncoplastic: This preserves the size and shape of women’s breast
  • Tissue transfers
  • DIEP flap breast reconstruction: An advanced microsurgical procedure to restore natural breasts after cancer without implants. Our microsurgeons operate in tandem.

Lymph node considerations

Your surgeon will also discuss the evaluation of your lymph nodes during your breast surgery. Lymph nodes are often removed during breast surgery to determine if cancer cells are present.

You may have one of the following:

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A radioactive substance and a blue dye are injected into the breast tissue. The radioactive substance and dye are carried to the lymph nodes by your lymph fluid and allow your surgeon to identify your sentinel lymph nodes or those closest to your tumor. The surgeon removes these lymph nodes, and a pathologist tests them to determine if cancer cells are present.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection: If cancer cells are found in multiple lymph nodes during a sentinel lymph node biopsy, it may be necessary to remove additional lymph nodes. A dissection is the removal of all of the lymph nodes under the arm. 

Lymphedema (an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in tissue that causes painful swelling) may occur in breast cancer patients who had all or part of their breast and underarm lymph nodes removed, or who had radiation therapy to treat the disease. Your breast cancer team provides lymphedema therapy to help prevent, diagnose and manage the condition.

Reconstructive surgery

As part of your surgical plan, your surgeon may discuss your options for breast reconstruction. Reconstructive surgery can play an important role in restoring your body image and emotional well-being after a breast cancer diagnosis. If you would like to pursue breast reconstruction, your surgeon will refer you to one of our plastic surgeons to discuss your options.

Learn more about our reconstructive surgery options