Having a breast cancer diagnosis is more than a medical diagnosis. It can affect so much more than your health, impacting your emotional and psychological well-being. Much of that falls on the aftermath of multiple treatments and surgeries. And for some women, it can be quite difficult to embrace the new scars that represent your fight with breast cancer.
“It can be very difficult for women,” said Jesse Dirksen, M.D., F.A.C.S., a Hidden Scar™ certified breast surgeon at Edith Sanford Breast Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “After going through treatments and surgeries, many just want to move on and put it in the past. But every time they look in the mirror, there’s a constant reminder of what they have been through.”
For some the scar is a sign of empowerment, but recent studies show an overwhelming many are unhappy with the location and are self-conscious of others seeing their scars. However, a new approach to certain mastectomies and lumpectomies is taking the scar out of the equation.
“The Hidden Scar™ technique is really unique in terms of cosmetic outcomes,” Dr. Dirksen said. “We can remove the breast tissue by making the incision in a more discrete location. An incision can be hidden very well under the natural fold of the breast, in the armpit, or along the border of the areola.”
Patients who undergo this type of procedure do not have a higher risk of cancer reoccurrence than patients who elect to have other techniques. However, only certain candidates are eligible to receive the Hidden Scar™ procedure.
“With any procedure that we do, we want to make sure it is the right one for the patient, from both a cancer and cosmetic aspect,” said Dr. Dirksen. “As a certified Hidden Scar™ surgeon, I consider the size and location of your tumor along with your breast shape and size in order to produce the best results possible.”
The Hidden Scar™ procedure is done for most all lumpectomies where just a small portion of the breast tissue is removed with the majority, including the nipple being spared. You might be a good candidate if the amount of tissue needing to be removed is small in relation to the size of your breast. The incision can be made at any of the three potential locations.
Hidden Scar™ is also done for nipple-sparing mastectomies. In this instance, all the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple is left intact. For this type of procedure, the incision is usually made under the fold of the breast. This is a good option for women who have no cancerous tissue in or near the nipple. It can also be a safe approach for women looking to reduce their risk of breast cancer who have a strong family history of the disease.