Women who are diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in the breasts generally have two options for treatment: a mastectomy, or full removal of the breast(s), or a lumpectomy, a focused removal of the tumor that leaves as much of the breast as possible intact. In my practice, I adopt a conservative approach to breast tissue removal, optimizing the end cosmetic result while maintaining aggressive removal of all cancerous tissue.
The BioZorb™ Surgical Marker
The BioZorb™ surgical marker is an innovative new tissue marker that is surgically implanted into the breast at the location of the tumor. The device itself dissolves into the patient’s body, but leaves behind six eyelash-sized titanium markers that serve as indicators for the exact tumor location.
Why Biological Markers Matter
Normally, after a lumpectomy, the patient must undergo a series of radiation treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Biological markers are important in the progression of cancer treatment technology because they can allow radiation treatments following a lumpectomy to concentrate more precisely on the tumor itself, with less damage to the surrounding cells and organs.
Potential for Better Cosmetic Results
Focusing radiation exclusively on the tumor as much as possible with the help of biological markers can mean that more natural breast tissue may be saved. When as much healthy breast tissue as possible is conserved, I find that creating optimal breast reconstruction results after a lumpectomy is much more achievable from a surgical standpoint. With a healthy, natural breast appearance, breast cancer patients can move forward from their illness with a sense of wholeness.
While breast implants can improve body proportions for many women seeking an enhanced appearance, active women may feel unsure of how to approach breast augmentation. Large breasts can sometimes inhibit certain strenuous athletic activities, which may cause athletic women to feel as if breast augmentation isn’t for them.
To the contrary, I see excellent results with breast augmentation in women of all lifestyles, including very active women. Here are four tips for active women considering breast implants.
1. Discuss Your Goals with Your Surgeon
Fostering a communicative surgeon-patient relationship is critical in achieving the best cosmetic results. When it comes to breast implants, I highly encourage women to inform their surgeon if they have an active lifestyle or plan to adopt one. Being aware of your needs can help your surgeon develop the most suitable approach to your procedure.
2. Opt for a More Moderate Implant Size
In order to maintain maximum comfort in your active life, women are advised to opt for a more moderate implant size. While athletic breast implant patients can still achieve a significant enhancement, very large implants are likely to become cumbersome and interfere with vigorous sports and exercise.
3. Consider Subglandular Placement
One primary concern of active breast implant patients is whether they can safely perform chest exercises after augmentation. Because submuscular placement may restrict your long-term flexibility when it comes to lifting, chest presses and weights, some women may opt for subglandular placement instead.
4. Avoid Chest-Focused Exercise for At Least Six Weeks
Allowing your body the proper time to heal before resuming your exercise routine is important in maintaining optimal long-lasting augmentation results. Patients should wait a minimum of six weeks after surgery before participating in any chest-focused exercise to avoid unnecessary irritation or inflammation of the implant pocket.
Large tumors (those with a diameter greater than 5 cm) are regarded as requiring a full mastectomy due to the challenges of reshaping the breast tissue following a lumpectomy. Although there is an increasing trend to use radiation therapy first to shrink the tumor to a more manageable size before removal, extreme oncoplasty takes this concept one step further by performing lumpectomy even in women who would be traditionally considered mastectomy candidates.
Research into Replacing Mastectomy with Lumpectomy
Recently, some colleagues and I conducted a study on extreme oncoplasty in order to determine whether it was possible to replace mastectomy with lumpectomy.
While not every woman would be a candidate for this option, most women would prefer to preserve as much natural breast tissue as possible. As an oncoplastic surgeon, an emphasis on breast conservation is one of my top priorities also.
To this end, we looked at over 60 women who would normally be classified as mastectomy candidates, and performed a lumpectomy with immediate reshaping of the natural tissue instead. In comparison to nearly 250 women who were standard lumpectomy candidates, we saw the same low rate of recurrence (1.5 percent) at the 24-month follow-up.
Conserving Natural Breast Tissue
Historically, mastectomy was viewed as the “safer” treatment choice for breast cancer, as it was thought that a lumpectomy wasn’t sufficient to fully remove all cancerous cells. However, research shows more and more that conserving natural breast tissue by performing a lumpectomy instead can be just as effective.
Oncoplastic surgery ensures a beautiful final contour by reshaping the breast, and bypassing the need for implants as part of breast reconstruction.