new approach to breast cancer surgery and reconstruction can improve
both medical and cosmetic results for women with breast cancer,
according to surgeons at the University of Cincinnati (UC).
method—known as “oncoplastic surgery”—combines breast cancer surgery
(mastectomy or lumpectomy and lymph node evaluation) with
reconstructive surgery in one operation. A cancer and plastic surgeon
work side-by-side to assess the lymph nodes, remove the cancerous tumor
and surrounding tissue, and then immediately reconstruct the disfigured
breast using the patient’s own tissue.
surgeons Jennifer Manders, MD, and Anureet Bajaj, MD, recently launched
the Tristate’s first oncoplastics program at the UC Physicians
University Pointe medical campus.
a disfigured breast after surgery and radiation is emotionally
difficult,” says Manders, an assistant professor and breast surgeon at
UC. “With the advanced breast-conserving
surgical techniques available today, there’s no reason women should
have to live with physical disfigurement after breast cancer surgery.”
surgery is covered by most health insurance providers under the Women’s
Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, which required that health plans
and insurers providing medical coverage for mastectomy also offer
coverage for reconstructive breast surgery.
combined oncoplastic surgery approach can result in cancer-free and
aesthetically pleasing breasts in one procedure,” Manders adds.
surgery requires the breast cancer surgeon and the plastic surgeon to
work closely throughout the patient’s treatment, including during
initial consultations and in the operating room, to assess and manage
both oncologic and aesthetic aims.
map out each patient’s surgery so that the tumor and enough surrounding
tissue are removed to eliminate the cancer, while conserving enough
tissue to reconstruct the breast. When the cancerous tissue has been
removed, the surgeons can manipulate the woman’s remaining
tissue—essentially giving the woman a lift—to form symmetrical,
cosmetically pleasing breasts.
throughout the entire process allows us to effectively control the
cancer surgically, and then immediately reconstruct natural-looking
breasts. This may help ease the emotional burden of dealing with breast
cancer,” Manders says.
procedure takes between two and three hours to complete, depending on
the extent of the patient’s cancer. Women can usually return to their
daily activities and work within a few weeks.
oncoplastics approach, says Manders, minimizes the time the patient
spends traveling for various doctor visits and improves communication
among all members of the medical team—which usually includes a breast
cancer surgeon, plastic surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation
important for the patient to know her caregivers are working as a team,
and oncoplastics lets us make those surgery decisions together—with the
patient—from day one,” adds Manders. “By working as a combined team, we
can better visualize exactly what needs to happen during surgery to
achieve the best medical and cosmetic outcomes for the patient.”
to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 69,000
women—nearly 47 percent of them between 35 and 50—choose to have breast
reconstruction after mastectomy or lumpectomy. The American Cancer
Society estimates that about 212,000 women with be diagnosed with
breast cancer in 2006.
The UC oncoplastics team sees patients at University Pointe in West Chester, 7700 University Court, on Fridays. For more information, call (513) 475-8787 or visit www.ucbreastsurgery.com.