Furthermore, the oncoplastic approach considers pre-existing breast diagnoses, as the surgeons plan to remove the cancer. A woman, therefore, may have ptosis (sagging breasts), macromastia (very large breasts) or asymmetry (breasts that are uneven in size) before her breast cancer diagnosis. The underlying condition, along with the cancer diagnosis, are addressed in surgery.
"The patient, at completion of therapy, has not only had treatment for her cancer but the underlying condition as well," Dr. Gass noted. "She can be more confident in her self-image."
The oncoplastic approach to breast surgery has greatly advanced the field from the traditional mastectomy to nipple sparing mastectomy. While mastectomy has been paired with immediate reconstruction in the past, women had to undergo additional surgery to achieve the final result. Now, with the preservation of the nipple areola complex, a truly one-staged immediate reconstruction is a reality. Oncoplastic surgeons use breast reduction techniques to contour the breast to have a smaller but rounder, more uplifted appearance. The unaffected breast is often exposed during the procedure to ensure the results are visually symmetrical. The unaffected breast may also undergo a procedure to create symmetry in some cases.
"Overall, the goal of oncoplastic surgery is to improve the patient's journey through survivorship," Gass said. "We want women to look at themselves with the pride they deserve, rather than looking at a scar as if it were a badge of courage."
In addition to bringing these new procedures to Women & Infants, Dr. Gass will also be teaching them to the breast cancer fellows who study at the hospital, the only facility in New England to offer such a prestigious educational oppor
|Contact: Susan McDonald|
Women & Infants Hospital