Oncoplastic procedures combine approaches from cancer treatment and plastic surgery to both eradicate cancer in the breast and improve the appearance of the breasts. In the past, many women with breast cancer would have the cancerous tissues excised by a cancer surgeon, and then later visit a plastic surgeon for reconstructive surgery. The development of oncoplastic surgical techniques makes it possible for women to live healthier lives and achieve better cosmetic results while undergoing fewer surgeries.

Four Facets Of The Technique                        

Oncoplastic surgeries incorporate four important features.

  • The surgery aims to remove all cancerous tissues.
  • The surgeon partially reconstructs the breast to rectify any defects caused by the removal of these tissues.
  • The surgeon immediately begins reconstruction using all available methods. 
  • Both breasts are enhanced to achieve symmetrical shape and volume.

Who Performs Oncoplastic Surgeries?

Typically, breast surgeons who have received additional training in oncoplastic techniques perform these surgeries. As the Wall Street Journal reports, both the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Disease sponsor courses in oncoplastic techniques. As more breast surgeons are able to provide cosmetic services, fewer plastic surgeons are offering breast reconstruction surgeries.

Who Can Benefit From These Techniques?

Approximately one out of every eight American women will develop breast cancer throughout their lives. Typically, women with early-stage cancer are the best candidates for oncoplastic techniques. At the same time that they receive a lumpectomy (the removal of a cancerous lump that leaves most of the breast untouched), patients can receive a breast reduction, lift, or augmentation to both breasts. Sometimes surgeons need to realign the nipple and areola after the lumpectomy to preserve a natural appearance. After surgery, both breasts are symmetrically enhanced. Some oncoplastic techniques simply involve removing the lump in a way that allows the breast to preserve its natural shape as it heals, rather than leaving it with a scooped-out appearance.

Many women who require full mastectomies can also benefit from oncoplastic techniques that better prepare their bodies for later reconstructive surgeries.

How Oncoplastic Breast Augmentation Can Improve Oncological Safety

While preserving and enhancing the appearance of the breasts is extremely important for the psychological health of breast cancer patients, eradicating all cancerous tissues is crucial for their survival. In an article in The Breast Journal, Dr. Francesca de Lorenzi describes an exciting breast augmentation technique that makes it possible for the surgeon to remove a larger portion of the affected breast and surgically screen the other breast for any hidden tumors. During the operation, concentrated radiation therapy is then delivered to the tumor bed. Because the radiation is delivered during the surgery, rather than after surgery as it is traditionally offered, the surgeon may also place implants in both breasts during the same operation.

If you are facing surgery to remove breast cancer, be sure to talk with your doctor about your oncoplastic surgical options and the possibility of having your breasts lifted or augmented at the same time.