Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Oncoplastic surgery

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Dr. Stephen Ray: Oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery are two terms. The reconstructive surgery refers to surgery that is performed to restore both function in an area that’s had either trauma or surgery and the person doesn’t function normally in that area and to restore form. And in a cancer setting the direct application of the reconstructive part of the surgery is that you're surgically going to remove a cancer and then your left with some kind of defect of skin, soft tissue, muscle, bone whatever and you need to put it back together and reconstructive surgery refers to that part of the surgery where you are putting things back together.

Oncoplastic surgery is a new term, and it’s only about been used about for the past four or five years at the absolute most and it refers to a set of skills that have been combined relative mainly to a breast surgery, and traditionally what’s happened is that breast surgery is been done by two different surgeons. First a breast surgeon who removes the tumor, and then a reconstructive or plastic surgeon who comes in and puts it back together in a way that restores as much as possible the form of the breast. What we have realized is that as breast cancer treatment has evolved more and more we are doing lumpectomies, which means we take out just the tumor in the breast and were left then with a hole of varying sizes and traditionally just the breast surgeon has addressed those issues and then when it heals and it doesn’t look right then they get referred to a reconstructive surgeon to fix.

And what we have now are moving toward is the same surgeon who does the tumor removal will also put the breast back together reconstructive so it’s an oncologic surgery and reconstructive surgery, or plastic surgery so its oncoplastic. It’s a new area there are not many people in the country who are trained to do it. They breast surgery society has recognized this is a huge need and they are trying to get breast surgeons trained so that they know how to use plastic surgery skills to put a breast back together so you can leave a minimal track mark or evidence that you actually did something.

So it has to do with how you place incisions how you approach the tumor, but now its moving in the direction where a single person does that and that’s my area of expertise is being able to do both of those simultaneously.

Listen to Dr. Stephen Ray explain how oncoplastic surgery works. In oncoplastic surgery, the same surgeon who does the tumor removal also performs any necessary plastic surgery. Dr. Ray specifically addresses breast cancer.

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