Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients. Hopefully, you’re taking advantage of the current climate and enjoying our lovely city in autumn. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness—The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Our offices are open and our staff is prepared to answer any questions you may have about your health, your breast cancer risk, and how to reach your aesthetic goals.
Our last article detailed potential treatments for lymphedema. Lymphedema is the accumulation of lymph fluid within the tissue of the body due to obstruction or damage of the lymph vessels. This accumulation corresponds to gradual swelling. Those who have undergone radiation treatment or have had lymph nodes removed may experience lymphedema in the days, weeks, and months afterward. Lymphedema can be painful and debilitating, as the affected area is sensitive and at a greater risk of infection. While chronic lymphedema is currently considered “incurable,” there are a number of steps you can take to heal from mild lymphedema. The Breast Place offers consultation for those suffering with lymphedema and our last article is a good place to begin learning about this condition. If you would like to explore your treatment options, we highly recommend scheduling a consultation with us!
Before we dive into today’s topic, we’d like to make you aware of a few promotions available at The Breast Place this January. We’re running a 40% off special on our Environ products. Be sure to take advantage of this sale before we run out of stock! The Breast Place is also offering free Laser Genesis with the purchase of 40 units of Botox or more. (P.S. This deal is worth $275!) To start off the New Year right, we’re offering our facial rejuvenation package for $500 off! If you happen to drop by the office, we recommend taking a look at The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, L.Ac, FABNO, and Jess Higgins Kelley, MNT. This book deals with deep nutrition, nontoxic bio-individualized therapies, and how the ketogenic diet can be utilized to starve cancer cells. We’ll be carrying a limited stock of these books and they’re available for only $25. If you have any questions about our January specials, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
At The Breast Place, we offer several oncoplastic surgical procedures, such as natural reconstruction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, Hidden Scar™, implant reconstruction, and breast lift with or without reduction. Oncoplastic surgery is distinct from both breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery–though you initially assume oncoplastic surgery to be a mixture of both. Rather, the aim of Oncoplastic breast surgery is “to achieve good aesthetic outcomes for women with breast cancers who would have unacceptable outcomes with other BCS techniques, and in addition, enable breast-conserving surgery for larger breast cancers.” While breast cancer surgery prioritizes the eradication of cancerous tissue and plastic surgery prioritizes the cosmetic appearance of the breasts, Oncoplastic surgery takes both of these aspects into account when planning for the final outcome. There’s a reason insurance providers who cover mastectomies are required by federal law to also cover breast reconstructions (as mentioned in our What to Consider Before Your Breast Reconstruction article). Cosmetic concerns matter to survivors and, as such, should be taken into account. The objectives of Oncoplastic surgery are often four-fold: 1) the cancer-free survival of the patient, 2) the conservation of the breasts, 3) a speedy recovery, and 4) a reduction of the overall amount of surgical procedures needed to arrive at the final outcome.
The Breast Place only works with medical providers who are trained and certified in Oncoplastic breast surgery, including but not limited to those listed above. Of course, when consulting with providers for Oncoplastic surgery, they should always be trained and certified. In today’s article, we’ll discuss what else to look for in an Oncoplastic surgeon. We want to make sure you achieve the best outcome, regardless of your procedure, and that starts with choosing the best possible Oncoplastic surgeon!
To gain the Oncoplastic Surgery Certification from The American Society of Breast Surgeons, a physician will need to also have certification from the American Board of Surgery (or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery or an international equivalent). They’ll need to show they’ve undergone the necessary amount of training which, in addition to education, includes at least one year of performing Oncoplastic procedures (with a minimum of 20 breast oncoplastic procedures per year). They’ll need to complete 20 AMA-PRA Category 1 continuing medical education credits in oncoplastic surgery, perform a written examination, and submit an oncoplastic clinical case application (which includes reports of successfully completed oncoplastic surgery cases and pictures). As you can tell, this is a rigorous process, but these are merely the minimum prerequisites for a physician to be considered for an Oncoplastic Surgery Certification. Consider this standard of knowledge and care when choosing your oncoplastic surgeon.
Outcomes & Experience
The past outcomes of a particular surgeon may not be readily available, but should be provided when requested. Most oncoplastic surgeons are eager to showcase their skills and will have plenty of photographs displaying the results of their past cases. If an oncoplastic surgeon cannot show you any photographic evidence of their past surgical experience, this is a red flag. As well, if an oncoplastic surgeon has years of experience and no references (i.e. patient testimonials) this might be reason enough to pause. Ultimately, the desirability of an oncoplastic surgeon rests on their ability to give sound medical advice, perform complex procedures successfully, and deliver positive postoperative results for their patients. If you have an opportunity to speak with a past patient of an oncoplastic surgeon (who has undergone the surgery you’re hoping to have performed), this can be an opportunity to ask questions.
Always Seek a Second Opinion
Not all oncoplastic surgeons are made equal. While the first oncoplastic surgeon you consult with may suit your basic requirements, it’s always good to seek a second opinion. In general, you should always seek a second opinion after a medical diagnosis or treatment plan is proposed. When comparing oncoplastic surgeons, use the metrics we provided above. Which certifications do they both possess? How many years of experience do they have? What are their past outcomes? What do their previous patients have to say? Often, an oncoplastic surgeon’s experience will influence their preferred treatment methods. A confident oncoplastic surgeon will recommend the best oncoplastic procedure for you based on your eligibility, not their capability.
Are you eligible for oncoplastic surgery?
Most women are eligible for oncoplastic surgery, but eligibility can vary depending on your aesthetic goals. If you would like a reconstruction along with a reduction, you’ll need enough breast tissue to accommodate the techniques required. Likewise, if you’ve had multiple lumpectomies, your eligibility may need to be determined by your oncoplastic surgeon. It’s always better to consult with an oncoplastic surgeon soon rather than later. The earlier in your breast cancer journey you decide how you’d like to proceed cosmetically, the less procedures you’re likely to end up having.
An article published in the Current Breast Cancer Reports, concluded: “The principles of oncoplastic surgery are applicable to all breast cancer surgery, although the options it can offer will have much more relevance to some women than others. The primary aim is always disease eradication, but the physical effects of this can and should be minimized. A range of techniques is possible spanning from very simple and functional, to complex and cosmetic, but women who may benefit can only do so if it is offered.” We believe the physical and psychological wellness of breast cancer patients and breast cancer survivors should be accounted for and that’s why we offer oncoplastic surgical procedures performed by expert oncoplastic surgeons. The Hidden Scar™ surgery involves the strategic placement of incisions to make surgical removal of diseased tissue appear virtually nonexistent. A nipple-sparing mastectomy, as the name suggests, uses a special technique to retain the existing nipple when a mastectomy is required. A natural reconstruction uses fat tissue from the patient’s own to rebuild the breasts, while an implant reconstruction uses implants. A breast lift (with or without reduction) simply rearranges the breast tissue. To learn more about these oncoplastic procedures, reach out to us! The Breast Place is committed to empowering women. We want you to look and feel your absolute best! Thank you for taking the time to read today’s article and we hope you’ll check back in for future posts about treatments, wellness, and more!
Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients. Hopefully, you’re taking advantage of the current climate and enjoying our lovely city in autumn. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness—The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Our offices are open and our staff are prepared to answer any questions you may have about your health, your breast cancer risk, and how to reach your aesthetic goals.
Before we dive too deeply into today’s topic, we’d like to make you aware of a few promotions available at The Breast Place this January. We’re running a 40% off special on our Environ products. Be sure to take advantage of this sale before we run out of stock! The Breast Place is also offering free Laser Genesis with the purchase of 40 units of Botox or more. (P.S. This deal is worth $275!) To start off the New Year right, we’re offering our facial rejuvenation package for $500 off! Mark your calendars, our upcoming VIP Day will take place on January 25th. Make your appointment now for a complimentary consultation and discounted pricing on truSculpt iD! You can read up on how truSculpt iD melts fat and prepare for your appointment here. If you happen to drop by the office before then, we recommend taking a look at The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, L.Ac, FABNO, and Jess Higgins Kelley, MNT. This book deals with deep nutrition, nontoxic bio-individualized therapies, and how the ketogenic diet can be utilized to starve cancer cells. We’ll be carrying a limited stock of these books and they’re available for only $25. If you have any questions about our January specials, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Our last article served to clarify a few facts about lactation. Breastfeeding isn’t always the simplistic, straightforward process it’s portrayed as. It’s important for expectant mothers to comprehend the mechanics of breastfeeding, as this will allow them to anticipate and adapt to certain sticking points. We discussed the three phases of breastmilk development, what to expect during each phase, how to deal with “after pains,” basic tips for latching, and more. Each breastfeeding journey is different and we encourage you to chart your own course with your baby. Whether you breastfeed for six months or six days, you should be equipped with a bevy of knowledge concerning what’s happening within your body. The Breast Place offers lactation consulting services because we understand how difficult and overwhelming the breastfeeding process can be. There’s no reason to go it alone. If you’re having trouble or need answers to your questions about breastfeeding, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with us! As well, be sure to give our last article a quick read!
In this article, we’re discussing potential treatments for lymphedema. Lymphedema is a common post-surgery side effect and something survivors deal with regularly. Characterized by painful swelling, lymphedema is an uncomfortable condition. In this article, we’ll break down why lymphedema occurs before delving into possible treatments. Here at The Breast Place, we help those suffering with lymphedema to restore lymphatic flow, reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and gain their confidence back. If, after this article, you believe you’re suffering from lymphedema–please schedule a consultation with us. The sooner the issue is addressed, the sooner you’ll be back to feeling yourself!
What is lymphedema?
The lymphatic system is one aspect of the immune system. Composed of various tissues, vessels, and organs, the lymphatic system moves lymph throughout the body. While plasma delivers nutrients where necessary, lymph is a water-like substance leftover when the work is done. In and of itself, lymph is not a harmful substance. In fact, quite the opposite. Lymph is crucial for maintaining fluid balance within the body, absorbing fat from the digestive tract, and protecting our bodies from potentially harmful pathogens. Lymph can produce lymphocytes (i.e. white blood cells), which attack bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. However, one of the most important functions of lymph is facilitating the drainage of cellular waste and abnormal cells from the body.
Lymphedema occurs when lymph builds up. This can occur anywhere within the body, but most commonly around the arms, legs, and armpits. Sometimes, during breast cancer, cancerous tumors grow large enough to obstruct the lymphatic drainage process. Likewise, radiation treatments can damage the lymph vessels–those highways along which lymph travels throughout the body–resulting in lymph pooling the surrounding tissue. Surgical breast cancer treatments may entail the loss of certain lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small nodules responsible for keeping track of our lymph drainage. These nodes act as filters, preventing abnormal or cancerous cells from reentering our system. Nodes also produce lymphocytes. There are over 600 lymph nodes in the body and any one of these can become blocked, resulting in lymphedema.
Those with lymphedema will notice the gradual-but-persistent swelling of their arm, leg, or other body parts. Their skin may feel tight or stretched, as well as take on a “leathery” appearance. They may also experience tingling or heaviness in the affected area. Lymphedema can be confirmed by a doctor through the measurement of the affected arm, leg, or other body parts, with its unaffected counterpart. A difference of 2 cm in size is generally an indication of lymphedema. Lymphedema is considered a chronic condition and “incurable.” That said, not all types of lymphedema are made equal. Mild lymphedema may occur immediately after surgery, as a result of the body’s healing process, and resolve itself within a few days. Lymphedema can appear several weeks after surgery, suddenly, then dissipate over time. Or, lymphedema can develop over years, slowly. This last type of lymphedema is considered the most stubborn and will not go away unless treated.
How is lymphedema treated?
Although prevention is always better than a cure, lymphedema cannot always be prevented. Those who have undergone radiation therapy or had lymph nodes removed will be predisposed to developing lymphedema. Exercising regularly after breast cancer treatment is associated with a decreased chance of developing lymphedema, as exercise improves circulation and aids the body in the drainage process. Similarly, exercise is often prescribed as a treatment for lymphedema. Your doctor or a physical therapist might recommend specific exercises for their efficacy in promoting drainage. Wearing compression sleeves or bandages can help alleviate the discomfort of lymphedema. Eating a well-balanced diet full of nutrients, sleeping well and through the night, as well as maintaining a healthy weight also contribute to the dissolution of lymphedema.
You’ll most likely be recommended to keep the swollen area raised, to allow gravity to assist with the drainage process. Lymphedema can stretch the skin and cause it to crack. That’s why skincare is vitally important. To prevent infection, you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized and clean. Your doctor will also be able to advise you on which products you should and should not use. Massage therapy is perhaps the most vital component of lymphedema treatment. Since the body is struggling to move lymph fluid on its own, the manual manipulation of the body’s tissue might help the process along. A massage therapist specialized in treating lymphedema is going to be able to express excess fluid from the swollen area.
Is there anything else I should do if I have lymphedema?
Those with lymphedema are at an increased risk of developing an infection. If one arm is swollen after breast cancer surgery, you shouldn’t have blood drawn from this arm. You should avoid having blood pressure tests performed on this arm or leaning on this arm, too. Avoid wearing tight clothes which might cut off the circulation to the swollen area. Be attentive when shaving. Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburns. The swollenness of a lymphedema limb may cause you to be unaware when the limb is exposed to extreme temperatures. Stay vigilant. Try to keep your sodium intake low. If you wound your swollen area, be sure to apply antibacterial ointment and a clean bandage. If, instead of healing, the wound begins to appear red or you develop a fever, contact your doctor right away.
Lymphedema doesn’t have to be forever. The Breast Place is here to help you towards healing! You can schedule a consultation to discuss your lymphedema today. If you have any specific questions about this service, we would be more than happy to answer them! Thank you for reading and we hope you’ll visit The Breast Place blog again soon!