Breast Cancer Surgery

When patients choose Virginia Mason for breast cancer surgery, they benefit from many specialists’ combined expertise in the most innovative and effective surgical techniques. Our surgeons offer the latest procedures and work with a variety of specialists to determine which treatment is right for a particular patient. Breast cancer surgeries at Virginia Mason include:

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

During IORT, physicians apply radiation directly to the tumor site in a single treatment at the time of surgery. Virginia Mason was the first hospital in Washington to offer this highly precise treatment in a clinical trial.

Breast Conserving Surgery

Virginia Mason surgeons are experts in surgeries that remove tumors and still preserves as much healthy tissue as possible. This makes reconstructive surgery easier and less invasive, so we can restore the natural appearance of a patient's breast. Virginia Mason's Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, is a leader in the specialized field of oncoplastic surgery, where a plastic surgeon restructures the breast as part of the procedure to remove breast cancer.

Sentinel Node Biopsy

During breast cancer surgery, physicians check the lymph nodes under a patient's arm for cancerous tissue. While traditional biopsy requires removing 10 to 20 nodes, often leading to lymphedema, this procedure only requires removing one or two nodes and typically has fewer complications.

Simple (Total) Mastectomy

Surgeons remove a patient's entire breast during this procedure. This is typically the best option for tumors too large for a lumpectomy, when cancer is in more than one area of the breast, when radiation therapy is not an option, and for men with breast cancer.

Modified Radical Mastectomy

Also called a total mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection, this procedure removes breast and underarm lymph nodes but leave chest muscle intact.


Our team is happy to answer any questions about breast cancer surgery and help patients navigate the decision-making process. Contact Virginia Mason's breast cancer nurse coordinator at (206) 223-8862 to make an appointment or learn more about breast cancer surgery.