Breast Conserving Surgery

What is breast conserving surgery?

This type of surgery avoids mastectomy when treating breast cancer. It aims to remove a cancerous breast lump without affecting the overall shape of a breast.

What is involved?

Surgery can be done by ‘Wide Local Excision’ of a breast lump which involves removal of a cancerous lump with good margins of surrounding normal breast tissues. This is to ensure complete microscopic clearance of breast cancer, with no residual disease left behind.

Oncoplastic surgery

In the UK, most breast cancer surgeries are performed by specialised surgeons who are trained both in general as well as breast plastic surgery. This is to avoid poor cosmetic results after removal of breast cancer by Wide Local Excision.

Oncoplastic breast surgery allows a wider excision of breast cancer without risking breast deformity. The defect created in the breast is corrected either by ‘volume displacement’ or ‘volume replacement’ techniques.

‘Volume displacement techniques’ involve recruiting surrounding breast flaps with good blood supply into the defect to ensure good cosmesis. It is commonly performed by breast reduction techniques as described in the cosmetic section. It is also called therapeutic reduction or therapeutic mammoplasty.

‘Volume replacement techniques’ involve transfer of tissues from outside the breast into the defect. Modern volume replacement techniques involve LICAP, MICAP or IICAP flaps as described in the following ‘How to avoid mastectomy’ section. Fat transfer techniques are used to correct deformity after radiotherapy.

The above techniques have become popular as they not only prevent deformity but also enhance the overall cosmetic appearance after breast cancer surgery.