Introduction: The surgical techniques used in mastectomy are in constant evolution because of advancement in knowledge and the needs of patients. Methodology: Literature review of different types of mastectomy. Results: Halsted radical mastectomy (RM), the first effective surgery in treating breast cancer, was later modified by Patey, Madden, and others to preserve the pectoralis major muscle. Studies showed comparable survival outcomes between the two types of mastectomy. The modified radical mastectomy (MRM) became the standard treatment for women with stage I and II breast cancer in the 1970s. However, the axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), a part of modified radical mastectomy, was associated with significant side effects. Hence, the simple mastectomy (SM) was developed to spare the ALND and focus on treating the local disease only. Studies showed that survival after SM with or without radiation was comparable to those with RM. Recently, adjuvant systemic treatment has been shown to significantly improve disease-free and overall survival in patients with node-positive breast cancer, which requires nodal staging to guide therapy. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) was invented to provide adequate pathologic nodal status in clinically negative axilla. Today, SM coupled with SLNB has largely replaced the MRM. Additional modifications to mastectomy by sparing the skin and the nipple areolar complex further increased its popularity. Discussion: The evolution of surgical treatment of breast cancer is governed by the principles of controlling the local disease and providing adequate pathology with minimal adverse effects. The validity of any new procedure requires confirmation.