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Breast Surgery

Oncoplastic breast surgery at St. Catherine’s Breast Health Center uses state-of-the-art surgical techniques and post-operative treatments. Breast surgery is often an essential part of the overall treatment for breast cancer in removing cancerous tumors, to check for the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, and to reconstruct a breast after cancer has been removed.

  • Lumpectomy – breast conserving surgery
  • Mastectomy – removal of entire breast

Our breast health care team will conduct a detailed evaluation and work with you to determine which surgical options will provide you with the best possible health outcome. Our focus is in providing personal attention in the multidisciplinary care of the patient. 

  • High Risk Screening
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of chest wall radiation
  • Genetic Evaluation
  • Genetic Tests
  • Benign Breast Problems
  • Nipple Discharge
  • Breast Pain
  • Fibrocystic Condition
  • Cystic Breast
  • Breast Cancer
  • Abnormal Mammogram/Ultrasound
  • Breast Mass
  • Second Opinions

Questions we are frequently asked regarding breast cancer surgery.

How long is breast cancer surgery?
Each surgery varies depending on the nature of the procedure. Some can take minutes while others might be several hours. An average bilateral mastectomy and expander reconstruction is 3-4 hours for the entire combined procedure.

How long is the hospital stay after breast cancer surgery?
Some procedures are outpatient (go home same day). Other procedures, particularly those that involve reconstruction may require a hospital stay of 1-3 days depending on the type of reconstruction.

Does my insurance cover this procedure? 
We will verify insurance coverage for each procedure. However, please note that there is a Federal law that protects you with regard to coverage for reconstruction.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 (signed into law on Oct 21, 1998) helps protect many women with breast cancer who choose to have their breasts rebuilt (reconstructed) after a mastectomy. Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the breast. This federal law requires most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction. 
Under the WHCRA, mastectomy benefits must cover:

Reconstruction of the breast that was removed by mastectomy

  • Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to make the breasts look symmetrical or balanced after mastectomy
  • Any external breast prostheses ([pros-thee-sees] breast forms that fit into your bra) that are needed before or during the reconstruction
  • Any physical complications at all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedema fluid build-up in the arm and chest on the side of the surgery

The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (BCPEA) was passed on Dec 18, 2015 and required the Health and Human Services secretary to plan and implement an education campaign to inform breast cancer patients about the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction, and other post-mastectomy alternatives such as prostheses.

Are breast implants safe?
There are two general types of breast implants available in the U.S. -- saline and silicone. Both consist of a silicone outer shell; the difference is what's inside the implants. Saline implants are filled with saline and silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel. In 1992 the FDA restricted the use of silicone implants and only saline implants were available for breast augmentation. In 2006, after 14 years of reviewing research and finding no connection between silicone implants and disease, the FDA approved the sale of certain silicone breast implants.

What is microsurgery? 
Reconstructive microsurgery is a surgical field where specialized operating microscopes and precision instrumentation are utilized to perform intricate and delicate operations. Utilizing magnification up to fifty times that produced by the naked eye and stitches finer than a hair, surgeons are able to repair transected blood vessels and nerves less than 1mm in diameter. The ability to reconnect blood flow to small vessels and nerves have enabled microsurgeons to restore form and function to those impaired by trauma and cancer. Microsurgery is utilized to perform the DIEP procedure. 

Dr. Deitch Explains: Breast Surgical Options

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