Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction
Oncoplastic breast surgery is a specialized procedure that combines a lumpectomy with breast reconstruction in order to provide a patient with superior aesthetic results in a single operation. To provide an optimal outcome, oncoplastic surgery requires the cooperation of the surgical oncologist and the plastic surgeon to ensure the procedure that is both safe and successful for the patient. While the benefits of this approach can be numerous, oncoplastic breast surgery is not the best choice for every woman.
Dr. Christine Fisher normally performs oncoplastic breast reconstruction in cases where the lumpectomy surgery removes at least 30 grams of tissue, with a two- to three-centimeter diameter of tissue removal or more. In many cases a much larger portion of the breast is removed. This depends on the tumor size and on the patient’s desired final breast size. Oncoplastic surgery then rearranges the remaining breast tissue to fill the empty space in the breast left behind by the lumpectomy. To address asymmetry between the two breasts, Dr. Fisher can then perform a breast reduction and/or breast lift to the opposite breast. Dr. Fisher is a board-certified plastic surgeon and expert in the full range of breast reconstruction options and will work closely with your surgical oncologist and medical team to determine the right type of reconstruction for you.
If you are interested in an oncoplastic breast reconstruction, Dr. Fisher and her staff are ready to answer your questions to help you determine whether this is the right procedure for you. Contact Christine Fisher, MD today at 512-815-0123 or send us a message online.
Is an Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction Right for You?
Oncoplastic breast surgery is recommended for women that are undergoing a lumpectomy and would like to incorporate a lift or reduction of the breast into the procedure. In the case of a breast lift, or mastopexy, the breasts are raised to a more youthful position on the chest at the same time the cancer surgery is performed. Dr. Fisher can also provide some reshaping to the breasts to create symmetry and a more aesthetically pleasing body contour. Features that make you a good candidate include:
- Lumpectomy required to remove the tumor
- Only one tumor is present, and it is not near the nipple
- Breasts have experienced ptosis (sagging) or the patients feels they are too large
One-Step Modification Approach
Oncoplastic surgery allows a patient to undergo medically necessary breast cancer surgery while still maintaining breast symmetry. There are a host of potential benefits when the lumpectomy and the reconstruction are performed simultaneously:
- Only one surgery means just one time under anesthesia and one recovery period
- The same incision pattern can often be used for both, minimizing post-operative scarring
- The ability to address potential deformities caused by lumpectomy right away
- Since surgery is completed before radiation, wound-healing risks associated with having surgery after radiation exposure are prevented
- A greater margin of tissue removed around the tumor may mean a decreased risk for cancer recurrence in some cases
- Improved positioning and overall appearance of both breasts is possible after the breast reduction and/or breast lift procedure
- Both breasts can be addressed in one surgery to ensure symmetry and balance to the body contour
- Greater confidence for women that have undergone breast cancer treatment
Both the surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon are present during oncoplastic breast reconstruction surgery. The lumpectomy will be performed first, to ensure the full tumor and a margin of tissue around it are removed. Next, Dr. Fisher will complete the oncoplastic breast reconstruction procedure, modifying the healthy breast to match the breast that received treatment. The entire process may be done on an outpatient basis or require an overnight stay in the hospital, depending on the amount of correction needed.
Making the Right Choice in Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Oncoplastic surgery is a highly specialized area that requires expertise and experience to be performed well. When you are looking for a plastic surgeon for your oncoplastic breast reconstruction, you want a doctor that has had extensive training in breast reconstruction techniques and that works with reconstructive patients regularly.
Dr. Fisher began working with breast cancer patients early in her plastic surgery training as this was a patient population she felt very connected with, and she specifically studied microsurgical flap breast reconstruction at Magee Woman’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Austin, she has reconstructed over 1,000 patients. She is often invited to be a guest speaker on breast reconstruction topics and serves on the Medical Advisory Committee for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. The extent of her training and experience assures patients seeking an oncoplastic breast reconstruction that they will be in good hands when they choose Dr. Fisher as their plastic surgeon.
Your Surgery Experience
Your oncoplastic breast reconstruction will be performed in the hospital, with both your surgical oncologist and Dr. Fisher present for the procedure. You will be given general anesthesia that will allow you to sleep comfortably through the surgery. A board-certified anesthesiologist will monitor you during the operation to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions to the anesthesia.
Incisions will first be made to remove the tumor, as the eradication of the cancer is always the top priority during an oncoplastic breast reconstruction. A healthy margin of tissue will be taken along with the tumor. In rare cases, single-dose radiation treatment may be administered during the surgery, depending on the recommendations of the oncology team.
Once the lumpectomy is completed, Dr. Fisher will begin the reconstruction and reduction and/or lift portion of the surgery. Using the same incisions when possible, she will reshape the remaining breast tissue to fill any area of deformity and bring symmetry to the two breasts. If necessary, Dr. Fisher will remove loose skin and excess tissue or perform liposuction of the lateral chest fullness to create a smooth, shapely breast contour.
Recovery and Results
Depending on the extent of surgical correction you need, you may be able to go home a few hours after surgery or spend the night in the hospital before you return home for your recovery process. You will be given a prescription for pain medication to keep you comfortable during the early days of recovery and a surgical bra to provide proper support to the breasts as they heal. In addition, your surgical oncologist and Dr. Fisher will give you post-operative instructions to minimize swelling, increase comfort and limit potential complications during the first week or two after surgery.
Swelling typically takes two weeks or longer to subside before you can see the full results of your oncoplastic breast reconstruction. Your breasts should appear perkier and more youthful as they are positioned slightly higher on the chest wall. The shape will settle over weeks to months. You may also notice a smoother, natural and youthful shape to the breasts. The results of your procedure should be long-lasting, even if you undergo radiation therapy after your surgery.
Restoration of Health, Enhancement of Appearance
Overcoming breast cancer is about more than restoring your health, although that is always the top priority for your medical team. Women that undergo reconstruction at the same time their cancer treatment tend to experience a higher level of self-confidence and emotional healing after breast cancer treatment. Dr. Fisher is a compassionate plastic surgeon who does not compromise on the quality of patient care or on the delivery of the best possible aesthetic results for all women she sees, especially breast cancer survivors. To find out if an oncoplastic breast reconstruction surgery might be the best choice for you, contact Dr. Fisher’s office today at 512-815-0123.