What is Oncoplastic surgery?

Oncoplastic surgery combines plastic surgery techniques with breast cancer resection techniques. When a large lumpectomy is required that will leave the breast distorted, the remaining tissue is sculpted to realign the nipple and areola and restore a natural appearance to the breast shape. Sometimes the opposing breast will also be modified to create symmetry.

About 10-15% of patients undergoing lumpectomy may require this. In our NZ environment where breast screening largely picks up smaller tumours, the majority of women can have tissue removed and a smaller cosmetic procedure undertaken where the breast tissue is moved and manipulated easily without the other breast needing any surgery.

At Auckland Breast Centre, we are increasingly adopting the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and or targeted therapies prior to surgery to shrink the breast cancer to a size where bigger operations are not required.  This has become the norm in modern overseas practices with an improvement in local control and a requirement for less surgery.

At Auckland Breast Centre to maximise the cancer treatments and cosmesis, we use breast cancer surgeons and plastic surgeons in two teams for the majority of cases that require larger cancer resections (10-15% of cases).  Philosophically, we believe it is important to separate the cancer resection and the breast appearance to the respective specialists, surgery time is reduced with a two surgeon approach, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons offer all plastic surgical options including free flaps for full breast reconstruction following mastectomy which is the standard of care for a tertiary level breast service.