Breast cancer affects many women worldwide, and while it can be a devastating diagnosis, advancements in medicine and surgery have provided more options for treatment and recovery. Lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery, is a common procedure used to remove a cancerous lump from the breast while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue. While this surgery can be a lifesaver, it can leave some women wondering about their options for breast reconstruction.
According to Dr. Miguel Angel Medina, Director of Microsurgery with Miami Cancer Institute, a lumpectomy involves the removal of a focal area of cancer, and in some cases, patients don’t need any specific breast reconstruction. However, there are still many options available to those who desire it.
For patients with larger or droopy breasts, plastic surgeons can perform a breast lift operation with an incision around the nipple that goes down the front to lift the breast and bring in tissue not affected by cancer to fill the defect where cancer was removed. This leaves the patient with all of their own breast tissue and the appearance of a breast lift.
While lumpectomy may not require immediate breast reconstruction, many patients will need radiation therapy, which can cause the breast tissue to shrink or become firm. In these cases, a breast implant or fat grafting may be used to restore volume to the breast.
Fat grafting, also known as lipofilling, is a popular technique that involves using a patient’s own fat from other areas of the body and injecting it into the breast tissue. The procedure can be done multiple times, and over time, the results become more natural-looking as the body accepts the grafted fat.
Breast reconstruction is a deeply personal decision and should be discussed with both an oncologic surgeon and a plastic surgeon to determine the best course of treatment. Many factors, including the size and location of the cancer, the size and shape of the breast, and the patient’s overall health, will be taken into consideration.
While breast cancer is a difficult journey, it’s comforting to know that there are many options for treatment and recovery. Breast reconstruction after lumpectomy is just one of those options, and it’s important to understand the choices available to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.