Surgery for Breast Cancer: Options for New York
Advances in breast cancer surgery give NYC-area residents greater options in their treatment of the disease. Most people who are diagnosed with breast cancer will eventually undergo one or more surgical procedures, each of which has its own unique purpose:
At Cosmoplastic Surgery, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh has extensive experience performing breast cancer surgery and has developed unique surgical approaches to improve the experience and outcomes. Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College, Dr. Alizadeh conducts research and participates in clinical trials related to breast cancer surgery, including advanced dermal matrices, autologous fat transfer, and new-generation breast implants.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alizadeh to discuss your options. His practice has three convenient office locations: Long Island, Manhattan, and Westchester, New York. Request your appointment online, or phone 212.348.0100 (Manhattan) / 516.439.5010 (Long Island).
In a mastectomy, the entire breast is removed, along with some surrounding tissue, even if cancerous cells have been discovered in only one or two areas. Patients may choose this type of breast cancer surgery for the following reasons:
Patients who choose this option may be able to avoid radiation therapy.
The goal of a partial mastectomy, also known as breast-sparing surgery or lumpectomy, is to remove all signs of cancer but retain as much of the healthy tissue as possible. Most women who choose this type of breast cancer surgery have small, non-aggressive, early-stage tumors and no prior history of breast cancer. They will likely require radiation therapy.
Dr. Alizadeh specializes in breast reconstruction, a surgical procedure performed by a plastic surgeon after a mastectomy or lumpectomy to restore the shape and size of the breast. Dr. Alizadeh completed subspecialty training in breast reconstruction at Memorial Slone Kettering Cancer center, the premier center worldwide in cancer reconstruction. He has also served as primary investigator and has published papers on the use of implants and tissue support for breast reconstruction. Patients have the option of delaying the reconstruction or combining it with the mastectomy. Other options are explained below.
Flap surgery for breast reconstruction involves transplanting healthy tissue from one area of the body to the area that has been damaged by mastectomy breast cancer surgery. The healthy tissue may come from from another part of the body, called free flap surgery, or from an area close to the injured tissue, called pedicle flap surgery. Dr. Alizadeh performs both pedicle flap and free flap breast cancer surgery for breast reconstruction. Dr. Alizadeh employs techniques such as latissimus dorsi flap, TRAM flap, DIEP flap, and SIEA flap for autologous breast reconstruction.
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Women who elect to have breast reconstruction typically must begin by expanding the skin (transplanted during flap surgery) that will cover the breast implant. For this stage of breast cancer surgery, Dr. Alizadeh first releases the pectoralis muscle from the chest wall and positions the tissue expander underneath it. Over time, he adds small amounts of saline to the expander to gradually stretch the new breast skin so that it will eventually accommodate an implant or autologous fat. Once the expander has reached its desired size, it is removed and replaced with a silicone or saline breast implant or fat harvested from the patient's own body.
When needed, Dr. Alizadeh also utilizes bioengineered surgical mesh technologies, which are designed specifically for breast reconstruction to help create a supporting pocket for both the expander and the eventual breast implant.
Dr. Alizadeh works within a multidisciplinary team of physicians who perform a single-step nipple-sparing reconstruction, which enables a woman to complete the entire mastectomy and reconstruction with just one breast cancer surgery, one exposure to anesthesia, and one recovery period.
For women who carry the BRCA gene mutation, this approach presents a reasonable option. The breast cancer surgery involves just one incision in the crease under the breast. The oncology surgeon performs breast cancer surgery by removing all breast tissue while leaving the breast's outer layer of skin, nipple, and areola intact. Dr. Alizadeh then places the implants into the breast pocket created by the mastectomy and closes the incision.
For reconstructive breast cancer surgery, Dr. Alizadeh may recommend NaturaGlow™ Fat Grafting to correct minor irregularities in the shape, size, or position of the reconstructed breast so that it more closely resembles the other breast. For patients who have smaller breasts or prefer a more natural reconstruction, he may recommend rebuilding the entire breast with fat cells harvested from their own body.