Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in American women. Roughly 80 percent of breast cancers are currently treated with what is known as breast conservation therapy (BCT), which consists of a lumpectomy, or partial removal of a breast, and radiation. Recent national surveys indicate that at least 50 percent of these woman are unhappy with the breast asymmetry and deformity that results from BCT.
While more and more people are learning that breasts can be reconstructed following complete removal of the breasts—or mastectomy—many don’t know that reconstruction can also be done following a lumpectomy. Barnes-Jewish and Barnes-Jewish West County hospitals are helping these women with oncoplastic surgery.
For those women referred to a plastic surgeon prior to lumpectomy, a coordinated effort with the general surgeon can often be undertaken to minimize the deformity and asymmetry at the time of the initial cancer operation. However, reconstructive care is also available to women who already have had lumpectomy. Surgeries can include breast reductions and lifts and fat transfers as well as other less common procedures.
Reconstruction associated with BCT depends on several factors including the cancer size and location, previous surgeries, and other medical and personal histories.
Innovative new procedures, such as the laser bra breast lift or reduction only recently available in the St. Louis area, allow shorter operative times leading to reduced anesthetic risk and swelling, more consistent results, and improved quality after surgery.