Integration of plastic surgery in the course of breast-conserving surgery for cancer to improve cosmetic results and radicality of tumor excision.

J. Y. Petit, M. Rietjens, C. Garusi, M. Greuze, C. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Integration of plastic surgery is currently widely practiced in cases of mastectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction with an implant or autologous tissue procedures is frequently proposed to the patient before the mastectomy. However, breast conserving surgery (BCS) is recognized as the treatment of choice in most cancers: breast conservation is proposed in more than 70% of the patients with primary cancer treated at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. This high percentage of preservation has been made possible by the integration of plastic surgery at the time of primary surgery. The size of the tumorectomy remains a matter of discussion. Based on the Milan II trial and Holland's pathological studies, Veronesi recommended so-called "local radical surgery." For a tumor 1 cm in size, a free margin of 2 cm produces a final specimen at least 5-6 cm in diameter. In small or medium-sized breasts, such a resection results in a wide glandular defect and poor esthetic results if direct closure is carried out. Plastic surgery derived from reduction mammaplasty procedures allows much better final cosmetic results, which is the goal of conservative treatment. In 25% of our patients treated with BCS, the plastic surgeon is called upon by the general surgeon to close the glandular defect. However, such glandular remodeling changes the size and position of the breast. Therefore, in 15% of these cases a symmetry procedure is performed on the opposite breast. The reduction procedure in the opposite breast should be taken as a good opportunity to check the glandular tissue. Special attention should therefore be given to the contralateral mammogram in order to focus the glandular resection on the most dubious areas. Occult carcinomas, half of them infiltrating, were found in 4% of a series of 350 symmetry procedures performed during breast reconstruction at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute. In conclusion, close collaboration between oncologists and plastic surgeons is required not only to obtain the best cosmetic results but also to allow improved radicality of the tumor resection and a histological check-up of the contralateral breast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
JournalRecent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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