You’ve probably heard of oncoplastic surgery before, although maybe not by name. It’s essentially a combination of oncology and plastic surgery. That is to say that it marries traditional breast cancer surgeries, such as a mastectomy or large lumpectomy, with breast reconstruction, within the same procedure. While it does aim to eradicate the cancer from the breast, it also focuses on aesthetics and comfort, with the goal of making the patient look and feel as normal as possible after the procedure.
Oncoplastic surgery eliminates the need for a second surgery in some situations and can reduce the need for multiple follow-up surgeries and procedures in some instances. It is also designed to prevent scarring and deformities where possible so that the patient’s post-surgery breasts look as normal and natural as they can be. In many cases, a breast lift is done as well to provide a more youthful and full look. If only one breast requires surgery, a matching procedure may be done on the other breast to create symmetry.
Oncoplastic surgery procedures are tailored to each individual patient, according to the goals each has for her treatment. Because it focuses on the needs of the patient and the way she wants her body to look, it also helps restore the patient’s self-confidence and aids in emotional healing following a stressful and potentially traumatic battle with breast cancer.
If you’re planning on having a breast surgery, talk to your doctor about oncoplastic surgery and how your treatment plan can be modified to include as few procedures and as much comfort as possible. If you’re concerned about scarring and aesthetic appeal, make sure your doctor is on the same page with you so that you can get the best result from your breast cancer treatment. Even if you’ve already had a surgical procedure that caused excessive scarring or disfigurement, an oncoplastic surgeon may be able to correct some of the damage.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?