Oncoplastic surgery represents the integration of plastic surgery techniques into breast cancer surgery to achieve aesthetic and cosmetic results, enhancing quality of life of the patients, without compromising control of disease.
The practice of oncoplastic surgery arose back in the 1990’s as the result of plastic surgeons pioneering to introduce improved aesthetic techniques into breast cancer treatment.
In this relatively new surgical specialty, the woman as an individual is treated, not just the cancer. With oncoplastic surgery, the cancer is removed and the cosmetic reconstruction is performed during the same procedure – which is a whole new approach to treating breast cancer.
In the first part of the surgery, the cancer surgeon removes the tumor. The plastic surgeon then steps into performing surgery on the breasts to make them more symmetrical, addressing any cosmetic issues as a phase of the surgery.
Ultimately, oncoplastic surgery is individualized to each patient and is a combination of science and art. The oncoplastic surgeon uses his or her expertise in oncology and aesthetics and balances these factors with patient motivations and preferences, tissue quality and breast size and shape, age, previous breast surgeries, comorbidities, tumour location and size to come up with a custom-made operation for each patient.
With the oncoplastic surgical approach there is no doubt that the breast surgery has been taken to the next level. The improved local control of disease and generally improved aesthetic outcomes found in oncoplastic surgery compared to standard lumpectomy have undoubtedly led to an increased satisfaction rate amongst the women who are candidates for oncoplastic surgery.
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