As breast cancer treatment improves, many women will be expected to live a long time with the cosmetic consequences of breast cancer surgery and improving cosmetic outcomes should be an important consideration of breast cancer surgery.
What Is Oncoplastic Breast Surgery?
“Oncoplastic Surgery” is a term to describe utilising techniques such as breast lift (mammoplasty) and breast reduction, which have traditionally been performed by plastic surgeons for cosmetic purposes. By selectively using these techniques when we perform lumpectomy for breast cancer we can improve cosmetic outcomes in breast conservation surgery.
Integrating oncoplastic techniques into breast conservation surgery can allow for wider excision. These techniques can expand the limits of breast conservation for some patients, when in the past mastectomy would have been the only option.
All of our specialist surgeons have specific training and experience in utilising these techniques in breast cancer surgery.
Breast Cancer Surgery & Cosmetic Outcome
Careful planning is required as both cancer removal and reconstructive outcomes can add complexity to a delicate procedure.
While the primary outcome is the surgical removal for any breast cancer with a clear margin of tissue, this is also balanced with leaving sufficient breast tissue to avoid significant breast deformation or asymmetric breasts.
Successful surgery can reduce both mastectomy or re-excision rates, and avoid breast deformities.
Considerations Before Breast Cancer Surgery
When faced with breast cancer surgery, your cosmetic outcomes could be regarded as a secondary concern, but where possible, postoperative deformities can be anticipated and avoided.
Often the best time for breast aesthetics to be considered is during the initial surgery as it may be more difficult to correct a deformity, especially after radiotherapy.
Optimising Cosmetic Outcomes
An oncoplastic approach will be considered in every patient, but it is not always necessary. Factors to consider include
Patients with a favourable breast to tumour size ratio.
The size of the tumour in relation to the size of the breast is the single most important factor when predicting the potential cosmetic result. So a C cup breast with a small tumour is more likely to have a better result than a AA cup patient.
The location of the tumour within the breast is important also. Tumour in the centre, inferior (lower) or medial (inner) parts of the breast, can lead to less acceptable breast-conserving surgery resulting in a concave deformity, skin puckering or nipple displacement/deviation. Tumours in these locations are more likely to need more complex breast cnacer surgery (breast lift/mammoplasty/oncoplstic techniques) to ensure a better cosmetic outcome.