If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, you now have the challenging task of trying to sort through all the treatment options and decide what is best for you, both in terms of cancer elimination and the aesthetic outcomes you want for your breasts after treatment. You may be deciding between a mastectomy or lumpectomy, so I want to introduce you to a new term for the surgical combination of oncology and plastic surgery techniques, and that is oncoplastic reduction.
What Is an Oncoplastic Reduction?
An oncoplastic reduction (also called an oncoplastic reconstruction) is two procedures completed by two different surgeons in one sitting: a lumpectomy performed by an oncology breast surgeon and a breast reduction performed by a plastic surgeon. This combined approach both broadens your treatment outcomes and reduces the number of procedures. Often, a reduction of the other breast for symmetry is done at the same time.
Beginning with the lumpectomy, the breast surgeon will remove the tumors along with some of the surrounding healthy tissue and possibly lymph nodes. Taking a small amount of healthy tissue around the tumor’s edges ensures that all cancerous tissue has been removed to obtain negative margins within the specimen and the cancer has not metastasized (spread to other regions of the body).
After the tumor has been removed, the plastic surgeon will finish the surgery by reshaping the breast mound using tissue from different parts of the breast. Depending on how large the cancerous area was, you and the plastic surgeon can discuss your breast reconstruction options. For instance, they may use tissue from different areas of the body (autologous tissue or flap transfer) to increase the amount of tissue for the reconstruction following the lumpectomy, or they may suggest a reconstruction of the opposite breast for a more symmetrical appearance.
What Are the Differences Between Surgeries?
Learning that you have cancer is a deeply personal and emotional experience. You will have to make many choices based on your specific diagnosis and prognosis. The table below lists some of the more common choices and what they entail.
Breast Cancer Surgical Options
Complete removal of one or both breasts, including all tissue, fat, areola, nipple, glands, and ducts. Subcategories include:
|Also called “breast-conserving surgery” or “partial mastectomy,” involves the removal of all cancerous tissue plus a healthy tissue border, and may or may not include some or all lymph nodes in the area.
Depends on tumor size and the amount of tissue taken.
Combines lumpectomy surgery with plastic surgery breast reduction surgical techniques.
Provides removal of cancerous tissue while maintaining an aesthetic outcome for the breasts post-surgery.
Because oncoplastic reduction/reconstruction surgery involves both the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon in the same procedure, additional reconstruction surgery is often not needed.
Depending on the tumor size and location, you may need:
What type of surgery you have will depend on your diagnosis and prognosis, and the decision will be made in conjunction with your oncologist, plastic surgeon, and breast surgeon. Each surgery will involve different recovery times depending on how extensive the surgery is and if you combine procedures or have multiple surgeries.
Who Do I Talk To If I Am Interested in Oncoplastic Reduction?
While you need to discuss treatment options with your oncologist to ensure you are a candidate for the lumpectomy procedure, consulting with a plastic surgeon early in the decision-making process, before surgery, can help you plan your treatment with the outcomes in mind. A plastic surgeon-first consultation can help you feel empowered at a time when many women feel like they have no autonomy over their health and well-being. Knowing what your breasts will look like after cancer removal can help you feel confident and comfortable with the other decisions you have to make regarding your treatment. A plastic surgeon can help you coordinate your care with all surgical team members and can help you find an expert breast surgeon for the lumpectomy portion of your procedure.
Harris Plastic Surgery – Your Expert Oncoplastic Reduction Team
The experts at Harris Plastic Surgery know what a confusing and challenging time it can be after a breast cancer diagnosis. JoAnn is here to relieve additional stress by helping you coordinate your surgery and get the most from your insurance coverage. Dr. Harris has pioneered the use of oncoplastic surgery in multiple hospitals around New York and is a leading expert in the field of both oncoplastic reduction (reconstruction) and prophylactic mastectomy procedures.
Stephen U. Harris, MD FACS
Dr. Stephen U. Harris is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and recognized expert in breast reduction and reconstruction surgeries, having performed thousands in his career. When it comes to patient care, his philosophy is that every surgery should improve his patient’s overall quality of life, not just their appearance. Dr. Harris stays up-to-date on all the latest advancements in breast augmentation, reconstruction, and reduction and is a recognized innovator in the field. In fact, he was the first surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital to offer primary prepectoral implant breast reconstruction, as well as secondary prepectoral revision surgery.
Dr. Harris also serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York and is an active staff surgeon (and former Chief of Plastic Surgery) at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.