Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction
Some women believe that the tradeoff for treating their breast cancer is a permanently scarred, damaged-looking breast. But in many cases, you will not need to make this tradeoff if you choose oncoplastic breast reconstruction.
Dr. Chang performs this technique in many breast reconstruction cases. Oncoplastic breast reconstruction saves more of your own breast tissue for a better cosmetic outcome while thoroughly and completely removing cancerous tissue. The technique essentially combines a lumpectomy and a breast reduction or breast lift into a single surgery.
You have an alternative to traditional lumpectomy and reconstruction. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s worth a consultation with Dr. Chang.
The Benefits of Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction
Oncoplastic breast reconstruction can achieve excellent outcomes for many women facing a breast cancer diagnosis. The technique:
- Requires just one surgery for both cancer removal and reconstruction of the breast
- Allows for wider excision around the tumor, which decreases risk of cancer recurrence, without compromising the look of the surgical result
- Can be performed for patients with both noninvasive (DCIS) and invasive breast cancer
- Is covered by major insurance plans and our office can assist with insurance authorizations
What Is "Oncoplastic Reconstruction"?
The term “oncoplastic” combines “onco” for oncology, the branch of medicine that deals with cancer, with “plastic” for plastic surgery. Like the word itself, oncoplastic breast reconstruction combines treatment of cancer with a plastic surgery technique to immediately reshape the remaining breast tissue and achieve a more satisfying breast appearance following lumpectomy surgery.
While proper and thorough treatment of a breast tumor is critical, a very close secondary consideration is how a woman treated for breast cancer feels about the look of her result. The oncoplastic technique accounts for this larger set of goals for a more satisfying outcome. To achieve this outcome, Dr. Chang can work closely with your complete medical team, including oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and primary care doctor.
By combining cancer surgery and breast reconstruction into a single procedure, women facing a breast cancer diagnosis can benefit from a faster physical, psychological and emotional recovery. A single surgery also reduces the risk inherent in performing multiple surgeries.
What to Expect
Before your surgery, you will meet with Dr. Chang, your oncologist, and other medical professionals. During this process, testing will be completed and background information will be gathered to ensure you are a candidate for the procedure. This may include mammography, ultrasound imaging, a breast MRI, and family history/genetic counseling. Dr. Chang will also discuss what you would like your breasts to look like after surgery.
Day of Surgery
Dr. Chang will meet with you prior to surgery, mark/prepare the surgical area, and allow time to review your procedure and answer any questions. A “breast lift” or “breast reduction” version of the oncoplastic technique will be used.
- “Breast Lift” Technique: For tumors in small- to medium-sized breasts that have mild to moderate breast sagging, a breast lift that preserves volume and tissue can deliver excellent results. With this technique, tissue containing the tumor is removed, along with a donut of skin around the nipple. The remaining tissue is reshaped to create a rounder and lifted breast with only one, well-hidden incision around the areola.
- “Breast Reduction” Technique: This technique allows access to tumors anywhere in the breast. This approach is ideal for women with larger breasts where a considerable amount of tissue removal and rearrangement is required. Large amounts of breast tissue can be removed with excellent cosmetic results and generally widely clear margins.
After your procedure is complete, your breasts will be wrapped in a soft bra to support you and to minimize swelling and other complications. Our staff will be in frequent contact with you to make sure that you are comfortable and recovery is going smoothly. Sutures are mostly dissolvable, and swelling should reduce each week and scars from the incisions beginning to fade with proper care.
In most cases, oncoplastic reconstruction will be needed for only one breast. Dr. Chang will almost always perform a breast lift and/or breast reduction on the breast not affected by cancer in order to create symmetry and balance the loss of volume from removal of cancer in the affected breast.
Insurance coverage is an important factor for many women facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Insurance companies are required by Federal law to cover breast reconstruction if they cover the initial lumpectomy procedure. Oncoplastic breast conservation procedures are covered just like other more traditional breast reconstruction techniques. Our office can help you with the authorizations you will need prior to surgery to maximize your insurance coverage for the procedure.