Who is Best Qualified to Perform Your Lumpectomy?

Dr. Michael S. Beckenstein

The most important aspect of a lumpectomy is to make sure the tumor is adequately resected and to minimize recurrence of the cancer. It is also important to have a nice aesthetic result as well. Both of these can be achieved with good pre-operative planning, technique, and surgeon experience. General surgeons have plenty of experience with tumor removal, but many do not appreciate the aesthetic component of the surgery. They are not trained in this aspect. The training and practice of general surgery is focused on tumor removal and it is not focused on the cosmetic aspects, whereas the plastic surgery is all about cosmetic results! I trained as both a general surgeon and plastic surgeon and can attest to this fact.

Breast aesthetics is complex and requires years of training and years of practice to achieve good surgical results. A surgeon who is board certified in general surgery AND plastic surgery would have the best of both worlds when it comes to lumpectomies. This is especially true of a surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction, breast reduction, and breast lift in Alabama. All of these techniques are useful when planning a lumpectomy and reconstructing the resulting defect, a specialty known as oncoplastic surgery (explained well in this Wall Street Journal article). General surgeons, even those who have taken a weekend courses in oncoplastic surgery, do not have the true knowledge and expertise it requires to reconstruct these deformities. A dual boarded surgeon would be better in these situations.

If you cannot find a dual boarded surgeon to perform your lumpectomy, ask your surgeon to refer you to a plastic surgeon, specializing in breast surgery, BEFORE you undergo your procedure. Plastic and general surgeons often work closely in these situations to plan a good procedure that will ensure a safe oncologic result while preserving nice breast aesthetics.

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