Oncoplastic surgery is a form of reconstructive surgery which may be used to avoid a complete breast reconstruction by avoiding a complete mastectomy. It is often performed at the same time as a lumpectomy, reducing or eliminating the need for separate reconstructive surgery down the line by integrating defect reconstruction into the extirpation surgery wherever possible. The surgeon delicately balances oncological needs with aesthetic aims, using cutting-edge techniques to prevent and mitigate deformity to deliver the best possible aesthetic result.
ORBE Surgeons is a one-of-a-kind super-specialist group which is home to multiple surgeons qualified and experienced in oncoplastic breast surgery. Surgeons with this qualification are still limited in number, and we pride ourselves on our ability to provide this service to Brisbane.
Dr Clarkson obtained her Masters of Oncoplastic Surgery from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.
Dr Peverill & Dr Lancashire have studied the Master of Advanced Surgery (Breast Surgery) at the University of Sydney.
Dr’s Clarkson, Lancashire & Peverill all teach on BreastSurgANZ Oncoplastic courses, with Dr Clarkson co-ordinating the most recent course in Brisbane.
Suitability for oncoplastic surgery
Although oncoplastic surgery is ideal in most cases, it may not be suitable for everyone due to limits imposed by individual conditions. The nature of your breast tumour, its size, or your level of overall health may make you unsuitable for an oncoplastic procedure.
Tumour-to-breast size ratio is also considered in the planning stages – a larger tumour in women with a small breast size may produce a less favourable result. Generally speaking, cases in which more than 20% of the total breast volume is removed are less likely to have a favourable aesthetic outcome.
Surgeons at ORBE meet each case with an individualised approach to maximise positive results.
If removing the tumour creates only a small defect, the breast tissue may be rearranged to compensate and minimise the deformity. If a medium-sized defect is created, a breast reduction or breast lift may be performed alongside the tumour removal to produce a better cosmetic result. If procedures such as this result in one breast being noticeably different in size to the other, the unaffected breast may also be operated on to create better symmetry.
In cases where tumour removal creates a larger defect, a tissue graft may be taken from another part of the body to replace the removed breast tissue.
Advantages of oncoplastic surgery
Best possible cosmetic result, compared to other breast cancer removal techniques
Reduces or eliminates the need for later reconstructive surgery
Can better address tumours and symptoms in large breasts.
The surgeon can remove more tissue, ensuring all margins are clear of cancer
Less risk of morbidity than a traditional mastectomy surgery
Most patients are able to go home the day of the surgery with minimal pain, although patients who have had a more extensive oncoplastic surgery (such as a breast reduction) may experience more pain.
Return to normal activity can generally be expected after about 6 weeks, although your individual procedure requirements will impact your recovery greatly and should be discussed with your surgeon prior to the procedure.
The goal of oncoplastic surgery is to produce a satisfactory cosmetic result following a lumpectomy, the definition of which will be decided on in consultation with your ORBE surgeon before the procedure. While some approaches aim for minimal scarring that can be hidden by the natural curve of the breast, others may increase the scar burden in favour of a more natural contour. Your breast or breasts will have a different look and feel to their pre-operative state.
Read about the origins of oncoplastic surgery here.