Oncoplastic breast surgery combines the traditional techniques of breast cancer (oncologic) surgery with the cosmetic advantages of reconstructive plastic surgery. The goal is to remove cancer while preserving or even improving the physical appearance of their natural breasts during one surgery, thus helping patients avoid a distorted or asymmetric breast, and heal both physically and emotionally. This technique often allows your surgeon to save the breast despite large tumors or smaller breast sizes. Additionally, it also allows for larger margins around the tumor, which is can be a concern with standard breast conservation surgery. Kent’s re-excision rate for clear surgical margins with oncoplastic surgery is significantly lower than the national average.
Oncoplastic surgery gives patients confidence knowing they can have their cancer removed safely without disfigurement in a way that provides a better quality of life and increased long-term satisfaction for breast cancer patients.
Oncoplastic surgery options are diverse and depend on the breast cancer characteristics, each individual patient’s body, and the patient’s desired outcomes. It is important to discuss whether you are a candidate for oncoplastic surgery options with your breast surgeon and/or plastic surgeon.
Oncoplastic surgery can be performed in tandem with a lumpectomy in most healthy women with breast cancer smaller than 5cm. Sometimes it can also be performed in lieu of a mastectomy when a tumor is exceptionally large. This is called “extreme oncoplasty.” It’s important to note these surgeries can be limited to people who regularly use tobacco or nicotine products or have other medical conditions which increase their surgical risks.
Many patients assume that their insurance will not cover reconstructive surgery on the unaffected breast or necessary follow-up procedures. However, federal law requires insurance to cover all stages of breast reconstruction, including balancing procedures of the other breast, after a mastectomy.