A new surgical option for breast cancer patients combines removal of the cancerous tumor with breast reduction in one surgical procedure, called oncoplastic surgery, with benefits that include improved cosmetic outcome and reduced risk of complications. Oncoplasty leaves patients with no visible reminder of the breast cancer and reduced risk. Many studies show a huge psychological benefit to woman who undergo oncoplasty.
Oncoplastic surgery helps both small breasted and large breasted women, allowing the surgeon to move breast tissue to fill the defect created by removing the cancer. Often maxopexy will be performed on centralized lesions leaving the patient with a better over all outcome. Dr Beatty’s goal is to have her patients cancer free without compromising their appearance. “I want my patients to feel and look as good or better then they did when they arrived in my office.”
The alternative is either mastectomy or lumpectomy, both which may result in a significant breast deformity. While patients could theoretically have a reduction after lumpectomy and radiation, the surgical complication rate is greatly increased when operating in an irradiated field.
This kind of surgery also gives surgeons greater margins of resection – the size of the area surrounding the tumor that is excised along with the cancer’s core. The greater the margin, the greater the chance to remove any stray cancer cells. The three-to-four-hour surgery involves two surgical teams in the operating room—oncology and plastic surgery.
After surgery, both breasts will look the same, and look no different from breasts that have been reduced for strictly cosmetic reasons. Unlike reconstructed breasts, breast are fully functional, with sensation and the potential ability to produce milk. The rates of recurrence, survival, and disease-free survival with oncoplastic surgery are all equivalent to those of traditional breast cancer treatment.
Two-and-a-half to three weeks after surgery, radiation therapy begins.
Radiation therapy for traditionally reconstructed women is notoriously difficult, with regular complications including skin breakdown, chronic swelling, and tenderness. Oncoplastic surgery greatly reduces these complications.