When radical mastectomies became a thing of the past, so did its medical mindset. Because research has shown that the radical mastectomy is no more effective than less extreme forms of mastectomy, but only significantly more disfiguring and difficult to reconstruct, the medical community has since focused on tissue preservation and the concept that “less isn’t always more.” For mastectomies, such tissue preservation takes on many forms and available options vary directly with a patient’s specific condition.
A modified radical mastectomy (MRM) is a less extreme and widely used form of mastectomy. Unlike its predecessor, the MRM only removes the breast tissue and axillary lymph nodes, leaving the pectoralis muscle in place and intact. Similar to the modified, a total mastectomy does the same, only without axillary lymph node dissection. For both, the breast skin may or may not be removed.