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Covert operations: Surgeons hide scars in new breast surgery technique

A new surgical technique means disfiguring surgical scars may be avoidable for women who face breast cancer surgery.

Kristine Keeney, MD, and Mary Ellen Greco, MD, are both certified in Hidden Scar Breast Care Surgery, an advanced approach in while surgeons remove cancerous tissue through a single incision made in an inconspicuous area.

“I‘m proud to be able to offer this to our patients because it can potentially ease the emotional impact of breast cancer surgery,” says Keeney. “Our patients will be left with virtually no visual reminder of the surgery and will also have the opportunity for a more natural-looking breast reconstruction.”

It‘s not appropriate for all patients. The tumor size and location and the shape and size of the patient‘s breast help determine eligibility.

The technique can be used in a nipple-sparing mastectomy or a breast-conserving procedure, also referred to as a lumpectomy.

In a nipple-sparing mastectomy, the surgeon removes underlying breast tissue while preserving the nipple-areolar complex and breast skin. The natural crease beneath the breast is the preferred incision location for this type of procedure.

A hidden-scar lumpectomy makes use of a single, discreet incision to preserve the majority of the breast, while removing the tumor and a small portion of healthy tissue around the margins. The incision for this type of surgery can be made in the crease beneath the breast, the areola border or the armpit.

Greco is pleased to offer the new approach because “it helps us confront our patients‘ fears about how they will be changed after surgery, while still offering the highest-quality care.”

She and Keeney work together at the Upstate Breast Care Center, on the Community Campus.

Cancer Care winter 2017 coverThis article appears in the winter 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.