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How can my breast cancer surgeon preserve the appearance of my breast?

A breast cancer surgeon can preserve the appearance of the breast by making their incisions with cosmetic preservation in mind.

Many breast cancer surgeons now perform oncoplastic surgery, which is a combination of oncologic procedures for tumor removal with plastic surgery techniques to maintain the shape of the breast. One key technique in this approach is the local advancement flap. With this technique, the surgeon removes the cancer, then rotates the remaining tissue to reconstruct the breast. This gives the woman an optimal appearance and leaves minimal indentations or defects, particularly after radiation. There are other more advanced oncoplastic techniques, including lumpectomy combined with breast reduction, which can give women the option of lumpectomy with immediate local reconstruction rather than mastectomy. In some cases, the surgeon may also reduce the size or alter the shape of the opposite breast in order to maintain a balanced appearance.

Women with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), a noninvasive cancer, can also benefit from oncoplastic techniques. Because DCIS is distributed through the breast's ductal system, sometimes it can be difficult to excise. Removal of DCIS may require removal of a substantial amount of breast tissue, and some patients have traditionally had to undergo mastectomy. Now, the creative use of oncoplastic methods is allowing many women with DCIS to keep their breasts intact and with excellent results.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.