Breast Cancer Surgery

Boise - Caldwell

What is Breast Cancer Surgery?

Breast cancer surgery is the removal of cancer from breast tissue. There are several different types of breast cancer surgery, including:

  • Excisional or incisional biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Simple mastectomy
  • Subcutaneous mastectomy
  • Partial mastectomy
  • Modified radical mastectomy
  • Nipple/subareolar duct exploration
  • Breast reconstruction
Breast Cancer | General Surgery
Breast Cancer | General Surgery

What Treatment is Recommended for Breast Cancer?

When it comes to breast cancer, the recommended treatment is usually a combination of surgery and additional "adjuvant therapy" that includes radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and/or hormonal therapy. The type of surgery required will be based on the stage of the tumor and its subtype. The surgical decision will also depend on genetic factors such as the inherited genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2. Treatment for breast cancer is not one-size-fits-all. It is customized to each patient.

What Happens During Breast Cancer Surgery?

Breast cancer surgery involves the removal of the tumor and an appropriate amount of surrounding tissue to ensure that all the cancer is removed. Generally, surgery will be either in the form of a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.


During a lumpectomy, the tumor itself is removed with a small amount of the surrounding tissue to ensure a cancer-free margin. With a lumpectomy, the patient can retain most of their breast. It is considered a breast-conserving procedure. Lumpectomy is the preferred procedure for women with newly diagnosed cancer and more minor, less-invasive tumors.


A mastectomy is the surgical removal of the entire breast. If the tumor is significant in relation to the size of the breast, mastectomy may be the best way to ensure that all of the cancer is removed.

During the Actual Surgery

During surgery, Dr. Gay will make an incision in the breast to remove the tumor and the appropriate amount of surrounding tissue. If the procedure is a mastectomy, this removal usually includes breast tissue, the nipple, areola, and surrounding skin. The general surgeon will also remove lymph nodes closest to the tumor to avoid draining fluid into them. If cancer is detected in the lymph nodes, the surgeon will need to remove additional lymph nodes and require radiation therapy following surgery.

Once the removal of tissue is complete, the incision will be carefully closed. The surgeon pays particular attention to closure, focusing on the appearance of the patient's scar. They will use dissolvable stitches to minimize scarring.

If the procedure is a mastectomy and the patient has opted for reconstruction, the beginning of the reconstruction may begin during the initial surgery.

What is the Recovery Like After Breast Cancer Surgery?

Recovery from breast cancer surgery will depend on the extent of the procedure.

Recovery from Lumpectomy

Most people can resume their daily activities within 5-10 days following surgery. Side effects from lumpectomy can include fatigue and possible skin reactions to radiation therapy.

Recovery from Mastectomy

Recovery from a mastectomy can take a lot longer than that of a lumpectomy. The typical recovery time from a mastectomy is 3-4 weeks following surgery. During the recovery period, the patient may experience a feeling of being off-balance from the absence of the breast. Mastectomy patients may also experience pain in their neck and shoulder. If reconstruction is involved, the recovery time is closer to 6-8 weeks following surgery. Part of the recovery time will be adjusting to their new breast, and implants can be challenging to adjust to at times.

Recovery when Lymph Nodes Are Removed

When breast cancer has spread into the surrounding lymph nodes, leading to the necessity for lymph node removal, a patient may have other challenges during the recovery period. The patient may experience pain and limited movement of their shoulder or arm. They may also experience numbness in their upper arms and fluid build-up, or edema, in their arms and hands. When the lymph nodes are involved, the patient has an increased risk for infection, bleeding, and blood clots.

Why Choose Dr. Daniel Gay for Breast Cancer Surgery?

Dr. Daniel Gay is a general surgeon serving those in Boise, Meridian, and Caldwell, Idaho. He has extensive experience with breast cancer surgery, including all stages of the journey from biopsy through the primary surgical procedure. He and his staff believe in using compassionate treatment of their patients, which aligns with the values of his practice. You will always be treated with the utmost respect. Whenever possible, Dr. Gay will use the most minimally invasive process available. To schedule a consultation for breast cancer surgery, contact Dr. Gay's office.

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We Accept All Major Insurance Carriers:

Blue Cross is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Regence is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Select Health is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Humana is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Medicare is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Medicaid is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Tricare is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Pacific Source is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD United Healthcare is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD Aetna is an accepted insurance at Dr. Daniel Gay, MD

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Patient Testimonials

Jessy Davenport
I’m leaving this review on behalf of my mother, Novella (as she isn’t tech savvy). Here’s what she had to say: From the moment you walk in the door, you’re treated so kindly. The front desk staff knew me by name and would joke and interact with me every time I came in. Dr. Gay is phenomenal. He’s patient and explains well. I had to have surgery to remove a cyst and even the surgery center, Treasure Valley Hospital, experience was great. Not something people typically say but it was a pleasant surgery experience. I highly recommend!
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Danny Cruz
DR.Daniel Gay was wonderful to work with after being referred to by my primary doctor from Pionner family medical DR.Ludwig. DR.Gay's personal office assistant was very informative with the steps I would be taking moving forward. My personal experience was great throughout my whole process.
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Gina Wooddall
Daniel Gay one of the Best caring Hernia doctors. Awesome Doctor I had surgery Jan 8, 2024 he did such a amazing job so blessed to have him as my surgeon highly recommended Dr Daniel Gay the nurse staff Sara and Kim absolutely amazing to work with. I'm very pleased with the outcome. Daniel is so Kind and Very Respectful and cares deeply about his patients
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Matthew Tracy
This surgeon needs protected at all costs! I needed emergency surgery on a Friday. Dr. Gay stayed late to perform the operation. I'll never forget his kindness and the respect he showed to a stranger in dire need. A rare breed indeed. Good men are hard to find. Thank you so much Dr. Gay!
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chrystal Bourff
Greatest ever! Wonderful as fast and caring as Dr Gay was. He and all of his staff treated me with kindness and compassion. I have never been as happy to call him my Doctor!
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I just had the best hospital visit ever for a procedure. I had a large lipoma removed and had to go under general anesthesia for its removal because of its size and location. All of the staff at Capital Surgical Associates and Treasure Valley Hospital were the most courteous and pleasant health professionals I've dealt with. Dr. Gay was helpful in laying out what was going to be done while the recovery was extremely easy. The follow-up visit with him was helpful in explaining what had happened and what I needed to do going forward. I cannot imagine a better experience.
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brett pendleton
Dr. Gay was great! I always saw him on my visit and not another provider. I had a lipoma on my back and it was one of the smoothest, easiest surgeries I've had. He's easy to talk to and his office staff are funny and to the point. You can tell he genuinely cares about his patients. Thanks Dr. Gay and staff!
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Luke Folke
Dr. Gay did a great job on an inguinal hernia surgery for me a few weeks ago. I really appreciate his practical but caring approach, his respectful manner and his professionalism! His assistant Sarah is awesome! She worked really hard to keep the ball rolling for us and we are truly thankful for her diligence in getting me in, and communicating thoroughly through the whole thing! I am also grateful for the team at Treasure Valley Hospital and the great care I was given during my surgery! Thanks so much! -Luke Folke
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Dr. Daniel Gay, Member of the Independent Doctors of Idaho