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Breast Surgery + Oncoplastics

Breast Surgery + Oncoplastics

When it comes to breast surgery, we know that no two cases are the same. That's why we offer specialized breast surgery services tailored to meet your specific needs. We use advanced technology to provide the best possible care whether you require a lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstructive surgery or other breast procedure.

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When is breast surgery appropriate?

Our bodies are constantly changing, including the breasts. Pregnancy, menopause and even conditions like cancer or noncancerous tumors can affect them.

These changes might not always affect your breast health, but when they do, breast surgery is a reliable and safe treatment option. With our team of experts in radiology, oncology and plastic surgery, we're here to support you no matter where your breast health takes you. Whether that journey covers preventive care or breast surgery, you can count on us to create a treatment plan that's uniquely you.

Abishnek Chatterjee, MD, MBA, Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery; Breast Surgical Oncologist; Plastic Surgeon; Breast Surgeon; Oncoplastic Specialist; washing up for surgery.
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Conditions

Breast surgery is a tried-and-true approach for treating breast cancer. Your care team may also recommend surgery to people living with benign (noncancerous) breast tumors and diseases, such as:

Duct ectasia
Fibroadenomas
Intraductal papillomas
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
Phyllodes tumors

If you notice anything unusual about your breasts, contact your doctor right away.

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Treatments

It's important that everyone prioritizes their breast health. So when you're living with a condition that affects the breasts — from breast cancer to extra breast tissue — surgery can be the next best step in your care plan. The type of surgery we perform depends on different factors, including:

  • Risk of the cancer returning after surgery
  • Size and stage of the tumor
  • Tumor location
  • Your overall health

It's also important to remember that you may need more than 1 surgery as part of your treatment plan. But no matter what type of procedure you need, you can count on us to get the job done. Our surgeons have one of the lowest positive margin rates for breast surgery in Greater Boston and nationwide.

Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a surgery where a small lump or tumor is removed from the breast tissue. While this procedure is a common approach for treating breast cancer, it's also performed to remove other noncancerous lumps or cysts.

During this procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in the breast and remove the lump, plus a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. Rest assured, we'll only remove enough healthy tissue to ensure your margins – the outer edges of the tissue sample – are clear of disease or cancer.

We'll send the tissue to the lab for a full analysis. Your doctor will be in touch with your results and any possible next steps.

Mastectomy

A mastectomy involves removing all breast tissue. We usually opt for a mastectomy when the tumor:

  • Has spread to multiple areas of the breast
  • Is in a hard-to-reach area
  • Is large

It's important to know that a mastectomy can take a significant physical and emotional toll. After you've healed from the procedure, we can refer you to our cosmetic breast surgeons to create a new synthetic breast for you.

And if you have questions about the procedure, are looking to join a support group or simply need someone to talk to, know that your care team here will be there for you every step of the way.

Preventive (prophylactic) mastectomy

People who have a family history of breast cancer and have the hereditary gene can also choose to have a preventive (prophylactic) mastectomy. According to breastcancer.org, about 5–10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child. A preventive mastectomy is an option for further reducing any future risk of breast cancer.

Oncoplastic breast surgery

There are 2 main goals in any breast cancer surgery:

  1. Removing all cancerous cells during 1 operation (also known as positive margin rate)
  2. Preserving as much of the affected breasts as possible

Oncoplastic breast surgery balances the medical must-haves (removing cancerous cells) and cosmetic considerations (how the breasts look). In fact, 90% of our patients who underwent oncoplastic breast surgery were cancer-free following surgery and walked out of our doors feeling comfortable and confident in their appearance.

Performing an oncoplasty requires a unique set of skills, and only a handful of doctors across the country, including those at Tufts Medicine, are certified to do it.

Cosmetic breast surgeries

Whether your breasts are causing you musculoskeletal stress or you're interested in a new look, our plastic surgeons can help you achieve your desired breast appearance. Some of the cosmetic breast surgeries we offer include:

  • Breast augmentation (augmentation mammaplasty)
  • Breast lift (mastopexy)
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty)
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FAQs

Can fibroadenomas turn into cancer?

The vast majority of fibroadenomas (benign, painless lumps) won't turn into breast cancer. However, it’s possible for complex fibroadeomas to become cancerous.

Complex fibroadenomas are less common and faster growing than simple fibroadenomas and contain changes such as cell overgrowth (hyperplasia) and calcium deposits.

How common is breast cancer among women and assigned females at birth (AFAB)?

About 1 in 8 women and assigned females at birth (AFABs) will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.

How common is breast cancer among men and assigned males at birth (AMAB)?

About 1 in 1,000 men and assigned males at birth (AMABs) will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

How can I be proactive about breast health?

A great way to stay on top of your breast health is by getting routine mammograms starting at age 40, or earlier as needed with guidance from your OBGYN. You can also perform routine self-breast exams where you check for any suspicious lumps or changes to the breasts on your own time.

If you notice anything unusual about your breasts, contact your doctor right away. Changes to your skin like rashes, puckering and swelling in a specific area can also point to a potential breast condition.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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