To do this, surgeons will combine breast cancer tumor removal (a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy) and plastic surgery techniques (reconstructive surgery) at the same time of breast conservation surgery.
Oncoplastic surgery gives patients confidence in knowing they can have their cancer removed while preserving the physical appearance of their natural breasts during one surgery, without leaving the breast distorted or asymmetric.
The process involves planning the lumpectomy and immediate reconstruction together. It may involve operating on both breasts, including one that may not have cancer, to make the two breasts symmetrical. The goal is to reshape the breasts to minimize the effects of cancer treatment, which can help women recover and heal both physically and emotionally from their cancer journey.
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 or plastic surgeon.
“Oncoplastic surgery is a valuable approach to breast conservation therapy, leaving the patient immediately whole and reconstructed without the potential significant deformity or asymmetry,” says Alexander Nguyen, MD, FACS, CLT, Plastic Surgeon at Reconstructive Microsurgery and Lymphedema Associates, practicing at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Medical City Healthcare.
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 symmetry of the other breast, after a mastectomy.