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.

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

This is a blank space, don't delete - need icons to populate on-page in order to work in the nav



Patient Testimonials

chris brooksby
I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Gay and his whole team, everyone I dealt with was very friendly and took lots of time to explain everything and make me feel comfortable with the procedure that I had scheduled. Additionally Dr. Gay spent a lot of time going over how the surgery had gone with me on my follow up appointment-I never felt like he was trying to say a few things then push me out the door so he could move on to the next patient as I have felt in other doctors offices in the past. That all being said I can’t recommend Dr. Gay and his team enough, they are fantastic! I hope I never need their services again, but if I do I know I’ll be in good hands.
Read more
Posted on
Dan Rueb
Dr. Daniel Gay is a likeable, friendly surgeon who took his time with me to answer my questions in a patient, thorough manner, explaining my options, & who offered his surgical services at the Nampa St. Luke's Hospital. I highly recommend him.
Posted on
Kelly Dawson
10 out of 10!!!! Dr. Gay and Sarah are such a beautiful blessing. I had been having intense symptoms of suspected gallbladder issues for months, but all testing was coming back normal. Because tests were coming back normal, my PCP couldn't get a surgeon to even talk to me. On month 3, she finally reached out to Dr. Gay who was graciously open to having a discussion with me and got me in quickly. He spent so much time explaining things to me & my husband in so much detail. I could immediately tell he genuinely cares for his patients, his practice, and the level of care that is provided. His standards of excellence are high. It felt so good to finally be heard. I had been suffering 4 months of intense gallbladder attacks 1-2 times a week with 2 ER visits. It was completely debilitating. After completing additional testing (which all came back normal), and my attacks becoming more intense and frequent, Dr. Gay agreed to proceed with removing my gallbladder. During the removal he found TWO gallstones that were causing the issue. It was amazing how quickly I started to feel human again. Sarah is an incredibly reliable and personable MA who took care of all my FMLA paperwork like a champ. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. Dr. Gay is such an amazing doctor (a wonderful human) and so down to earth that I felt comfortable with him right away. I have so much gratitude that he was my surgeon. You're doing great work Doc ... keep it up.
Read more
Posted on
Emily Richcreek
Appreciative of the office and staff, as well as Dr. Daniel Gay himself. Dr. Gay took time to listen and trust me as a patient and that what I was going through was legitimate. Between normal labs, scans, and tests, Dr. Gay took the time to trust what I was feeling and made an important medical decision; which greatly improved my health. In doing so I’m now pain free and feeling amazing. To the office and Dr. Gay himself, thank you for listening and thank you for the wonderful care you provided me. Also this office is amazing with children! Had my pre-k shadow tripping at my feet the whole time. They did amazing keeping him occupied and loaded on suckers. They’re all amazing.
Read more
Posted on
Glenn Mabey
Did a fine job
Posted on
Stewart Galbraith
Referred to Dr. Gay for bilateral inguinal hernia surgery. He explained the procedure well, and the follow-up appointment was also informative. Recovery has gone well, with no complications. Overall, I am very pleased with his service.
Posted on
Byl Kravetz
Start to finish, Dr. Gay and his staff were friendly and efficient. All of my questions were answered and the procedure went as smoothly as a procedure can go. Highly recommend their services.
Posted on
Dan Cunningham
I couldn’t ask for a better experience than with Dr Gay. Very happy. Not only a good surgeon but takes the time to get to know you. Very please
Posted on
Dr. Daniel Gay, Member of the Independent Doctors of Idaho