Breast Surgery

Our team of experts provides the best treatment using the most advanced technology. Our surgeons are specially trained with the latest advances in surgical techniques and minimally invasive approaches.

Removal of a breast cancer can typically be done in two ways, either with a lumpectomy (partial mastectomy) or a mastectomy. Your surgeon will discuss with you which approach is recommended.


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Breast Conservation Surgery with Lumpectomy

During a lumpectomy, your surgeon will remove the cancer and a small amount of normal surrounding tissue. Your surgeon will take a minimally invasive and cosmetic approach.

Opting for minimally invasive surgery doesn’t change the results of your surgery or increase the chance the cancer will return; it simply helps you emerge with breasts that have minimal scarring and a normal shape.

Our specially trained surgeons use minimally-invasive techniques known as Hidden Scar™ to remove the cancer through natural skin creases such as the fold under the breast or along the curve of the areola to hide the incision. Your surgeon will evaluate you for the possibility of a Hidden Scar approach.

Generally, women who have their cancer removed by lumpectomy will also receive radiation therapy to the breast.

Our surgeons also offer “oncoplastic” techniques, sometimes performed with a plastic surgeon. Oncoplastic techniques are the rearrangement of the remaining breast tissue after a lumpectomy to avoid having a dent in the skin after surgery. This is often used when a larger area needs to be removed and helps to maintain the normal contour of the breast. It allows our surgeons to have outstanding cosmetic results after a cancer operation.


Mastectomy with or without Breast Reconstruction:

During a mastectomy, your surgeon will remove all of the breast tissue. Simultaneous reconstruction can usually be performed at the same time if you choose.

Our specially trained board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons perform this part of the operation, and although performed by a plastic surgeon, this is not considered cosmetic surgery. In some cases, a minimally invasive “nipple-sparing mastectomy” may be performed, where the nipple and areola are kept intact.

Your surgeons will evaluate you to determine if you are a candidate for this type of reconstruction. These incisions are usually located in a natural crease to hide the incision best.

Many women opt to “go flat” without reconstruction, and our surgeons are trained specifically to perform this surgery as well. Going flat may be the right option for you, and we will fully support your decision to have mastectomy without reconstruction, often a one-stage operation.

Another option is implant-based reconstruction, where breast implants take the place of the breast tissue after mastectomy. This is usually a two-stage operation where a temporary implant known as a “tissue expander” is placed at the time of the mastectomy and later exchanged to a permanent implant several months later.

Our breast surgeons work with highly specialized microvascular surgeons who perform advanced tissue-based reconstruction. These are known as “flap reconstructions,” the most common being the DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap, which uses excess abdominal tissue to recreate a breast after mastectomy. Your surgeon will evaluate you to determine if you are a candidate for this type of approach.


Axillary Surgery:

Your surgeon may need to remove some or all lymph nodes under the armpit as part of the operation. This is typically done as part of the surgery and may require a separate small incision under the armpit.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy removes only a few lymph nodes, while a complete axillary lymph node dissection removes all of the lymph nodes within a certain area of the armpit. Your surgeon will explain which, if any, you need and the risks and benefits for each.


Breast Surgery at the Cancer Institute
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

We offer the latest treatments through our ongoing membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Alliance, which gives you access to the latest standards of care and clinical trials.

The MSK Alliance


Breast Surgery News

September 10, 2019

New: Radiofrequency Seeds Aid Breast Surgery, Improve Cosmetic Results

Not all breast disease can be felt, so surgeons have developed ways to mark the lump or lesion for more [...]

November 01, 2018

Weighing the Pros, Cons of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Deciding whether or not to have breast reconstruction surgery following breast cancer is a very personal choice. How do you [...]

October 11, 2018

‘Hidden Scar’ Surgery: Making a Difference for Breast Cancer Patients

Breast surgeons at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital are performing a revolutionary procedure that allows them to [...]

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