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For most patients with breast cancer, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, which may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and hormone therapy, may be used.
For breast cancer, surgery is an important part of the treatment plan.
At the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program of UPMC CancerCenter, our dedicated breast surgical specialists have advanced training in a number of highly specialized technologies and the use of minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove malignant and benign tumors of the breast.
Surgical procedures for breast cancer include:
Sentinel lymph node mapping is a minimally invasive technique used to determine if cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes.
Prior to the procedure, dye and a radioactive isotope are injected into the breast to identify the sentinel lymph node (SLN), or lymph node where the cancer is likely to spread first. The surgeon then uses a gamma probe to confirm the location of the SLN. Once identified, the SLN is removed and sent to pathology for review.
|If …||Then …|
|cancer cells are not detected in the SLN,||no further surgery is performed on the lymph nodes.|
|cancer cells are detected in the SLN,||a full axillary lymph node dissection may be necessary. In some cases, removal of additional lymph nodes may not be necessary.|
Plastic and reconstructive surgical evaluations are available to women considering mastectomy and breast reconstruction either as breast cancer treatment or risk reduction options.
UPMC plastic surgeons work alongside our breast surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists to provide reconstructive consultations and care for patients with breast cancer and other breast-related problems.
Reconstructive procedures include:
For patients who require a lumpectomy that may leave the breast distorted, oncoplastic surgery — a new technique that combines state-of-the-art plastic surgery and breast surgical oncology — may be an option.
Oncoplastic surgery requires close communication and collaboration between the breast surgical oncologist and the plastic surgeon. After the tumor and surrounding tissue are removed, the plastic surgeon reshapes the remaining breast tissue to realign the nipple and areola and restore a natural appearance to the breast. To create symmetry, the opposite breast also may be modified.
This video provides information on breast reconstruction and the choices that are made during the process.