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Kate Faxon
Can Breast Reconstruction Be Done After a Lumpectomy?

Can Breast Reconstruction Be Done After a Lumpectomy?

The treatment of breast cancer continues to evolve. With improved screening, detection of breast cancer occurs at an earlier stage and more women are candidates for breast conservation. With breast conservation only the tumor and a margin around that tumor are removed. The majority of the breast remains. Radiation therapy is then completed to decrease the risk of recurrence.

When a patient is a candidate for breast conservation, the breast surgeon does not often offer breast reconstruction or referral to a plastic surgeon.

In the majority of cases, this approach is successful and the aesthetic outcome after treatment is satisfactory. But there are patients that are deformed and require secondary reconstruction as the surgery and radiation have forever altered their silhouette. These are cases that a combined approach at the time of lumpectomy could have been considered.

The term “oncoplastic surgery” refers to a treatment that combines the lumpectomy surgery done by the breast surgeon with further surgery of the breast, either a breast lift or reduction, by the plastic surgeon to improve the eventual cosmetic result after breast cancer treatment. This technique is covered by insurance and the other breast would be operated on for symmetry.

The best candidates for this approach include those requiring a large lumpectomy, a patient with relatively small breasts, and a patient that would benefit from a breast reduction or a breast lift. Location of the tumor can also have an effect on the outcome so a tumor in the superior pole of the breast could benefit from this approach.

If you are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and considering treatment options, be sure to ask your breast surgeon for a referral to a plastic surgeon to see if any breast reconstruction should be considered at the time of your cancer surgery.

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