After being diagnosed with breast cancer, women are faced with many difficult decisions. With so many surgery options, it can be daunting to know which one is right. But you don’t have to make that decision alone. The team of surgeons at Edith Sanford Breast Center is here to guide women on their cancer journeys, helping them make the decision that is right for them.
When deciding which surgery option is best for you, there are many factors that can play into your decision. It matters the stage of cancer, the location, your genetic risk factor and personal preference. It’s important that every woman fully understands all her options and the pros and cons that go along with each.
A lumpectomy will remove just a small portion of the breast that includes the area where the cancer is located. While a lumpectomy is generally done in an outpatient setting, you may have to receive other forms of treatment along with it. For example, you typically will also have to have radiation therapy. This helps to ensure any remaining cancer cells in the breast are killed.
A lumpectomy, while a more minimal procedure than a mastectomy, can still leave its mark on the breast. You might have a dent or bulge where the tissue was removed. There are cosmetic options you can elect to have that can reshape the breast by using skin, muscle and fat from your lower abdomen, back or buttocks. However, if you are having radiation, it’s typically suggested to wait until after it is complete before having breast reconstruction. That is something you and your surgeon can discuss together.
A mastectomy is fairly common for breast cancer patients. It removes the entire breast and depending on where the cancer is found and the severity of it, some women will have both breasts removed. There are many different types of mastectomies with varying degrees of removal.
- A simple or total procedure removes the breast tissue.
- A modified radical mastectomy removes the tissue and a portion of the lymph nodes.
- A nipple sparing mastectomy removes all the breast tissue but leaves the nipple area alone.
Hidden Scar™ surgery
Now at Edith Sanford Breast Center, women can receive lumpectomies and nipple-sparing mastectomies through the Hidden Scar™ method. This approach means your incision will be in a location that is hard to see, so your scar will be less visible when it heals. Not having the constant reminder of the surgery has shown to help women recover both emotionally and psychologically.
Reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery
For many women, breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as the lumpectomy or mastectomy. The plastic surgery and breast surgery teams work closely with one another to coordinate the surgery and your recovery in order to give you the most seamless care possible.
After a mastectomy, the breast can be reconstructed in many ways. Some women choose to have breast implants, which are filled with saline or silicone gel. Another method of breast reconstruction is to create a breast using the patient’s own tissue, such as skin and fat from the abdomen, back, or buttocks. Or some women opt for wearing padding inside their bras or some do nothing at all. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another.
The type of reconstruction best for you depends on your age, body type and the type of cancer surgery you had. Your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon can help you decide and answer any questions you may have.