Mastectomy is when the entire breast is removed, including the nipple and areola (the dark part around the nipple). This can be done with or without immediate breast reconstruction by a plastic surgeon. This requires an overnight stay in the hospital, longer if there is immediate reconstruction.
Simple Mastectomy involves removal of the breast, nipple and areola, but no lymph nodes.
Modified Radical Mastectomy includes removal of the lymph nodes under the arm as well as the breast, nipple and areola.
Skin Sparing Mastectomy: This is when the breast tissue, nipple and areola are removed but the skin is saved. The skin serves as an envelope to build the new breast, either with an expander/implant or a woman’s own tissue (TRAM, DIEP flap, etc).