Information for All

Post-Mastectomy Care Glossary

Accredited facility - a facility that has completed a certification of competency or credibility by a recognized accreditation board, such as The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). Since 1948, ABC has been accrediting orthotic, prosthetic, pedorthic and mastectomy facilities. ABC accredited facilities must comply with a specific set of requirements and adhere to stringent patient care standards.

Adenosis - an enlargement of breast lobules.

Areola - the circular area surrounding the nipple.

Axilla - the armpit.

Axillary Lymph Nodes - the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Bilateral - both sides of the body.

Durable Medical Equipment - assistive devices such as crutches, wheel chairs, canes, etc. that help a patient with their rehabilitative needs.

Implant - an internal prosthetic device; usually silicone bags filled with salt water saline or silicone gel used in reconstructive surgery to create a breast shape.

Lymph Nodes - small rounded or bean-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue located throughout the body.

Lymphedema - a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system.

Mastectomy - surgery to remove a breast, performed either to treat or to prevent breast cancer.

Modified Radical Mastectomy - removal of the tumor, breast tissue, breast skin, nipple, areola and lymph nodes.

Partial Mastectomy - removal of the cancerous tumor and surrounding breast tissue.

Pectoralis muscles (Major and Minor) - muscles located under the breast; attached to the front of the chest wall extending to the upper arms.

Prophylactic mastectomy - removal of a healthy breast in high-risk women to prevent possible future development of cancer.

Prosthesis - an artificial device used to replace a missing body part.

Radical Mastectomy (Radial-Halsted) - removal of the tumor, all breast tissue, breast skin, nipple, areola, ducts, lymph nodes and chest muscles.

Reconstructive Surgery - surgery to rebuild the shape of the breast.

Segmental Mastectomy - removal of tumor, some of the normal breast tissue around it and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor.

Unilateral - one side.