Oncoplastic breast surgery
Treatment for breast cancer is a highly sensitive experience, both physically and emotionally. For this reason, the best practice surgical approach to breast cancer treatment has evolved significantly in recent years, moving away from ‘one size fits all’ to an individually tailored set of options based on predicted treatment response and prognosis.
Drastic surgeries that can significantly impact appearance are not necessary in most new breast cancer cases. At Waverley Private Hospital, we take a ‘less is more’ approach where possible, opting for breast conserving surgery in many cases of new breast cancer.
How oncoplastic breast surgery works
The word ‘oncoplastic’ refers to ‘moulding the tumour’ but, in a practical sense, it is the use of plastic surgery expertise to remove the tumour and reconstruct the remaining breast tissue. Sometimes ‘plastic’ components, like implants, are not necessary at all.
A skilled oncoplastic surgeon can use one of three main techniques:
- Volume displacement, where the surgeon performs a partial mastectomy and uses the remaining breast tissue to fill the area where the tumour had been
- Volume replacement, where the surgeon performs a partial mastectomy immediately reconstructs the breast using tissue from elsewhere
- Volume reduction, where the breast is simply made smaller as a result of the partial mastectomy, where the breast is aesthetically reduced and made smaller and nicer achieving tumour removal at the same time
All three of these techniques produce an aesthetically pleasing outcome after surgical removal of tumour without compromising successful treatment.
Pleasing aesthetics and quality of life
Evidence clearly shows that oncoplastic surgery options result in better patient satisfaction, quality of life and surgical clearance of tumours. 1–3
Individual preferences and physical features, cancer related factors and available expertise will determine the surgical choices, so it is always best to discuss your options with your doctor or surgeon.
- Campbell, E. J. & Romics, L. Oncological safety and cosmetic outcomes in oncoplastic breast conservation surgery, a review of the best level of evidence literature. Breast cancer (Dove Medical Press) 9, 521–530 (2017).
- Chen, J.-Y. Y., Huang, Y.-J. J., Zhang, L.-L. L., Yang, C.-Q. Q. & Wang, K. Comparison of Oncoplastic Breast-Conserving Surgery and Breast-Conserving Surgery Alone: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of breast cancer 21, 321–329 (2018).
- Kelemen, P. et al. Comparison of clinicopathologic, cosmetic and quality of life outcomes in 700 oncoplastic and conventional breast-conserving surgery cases: A single-centre retrospective study. European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology 45, 118–124 (2019).