A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating and scars from a mastectomy or lumpectomy can be a constant reminder of the disease – until now. A new procedure, known as hidden scar surgery, is as effective as a mastectomy or lumpectomy, but doesn’t leave lasting scars. The surgery does not change the rate of recurrence as compared to more traditional methods and it does not require additional treatments beyond what may already be warranted.
The surgery is done by placing an incision in areas, such as the edge of the areola, the inframmamary fold, or the armpit, where the scar won’t be visible when it heals. This technique can be used either with a mastectomy, where we remove the entire breast (allowing for a nipple-sparing mastectomy), or a lumpectomy, where we are only removing a small portion of the breast.
While not all women are candidates for this approach, most patients can benefit. Candidates are based on the size and location of the tumor, breast shape, and breast size. However, with improved technology, more and more patients are becoming eligible for this type of procedure.
In order to become hidden scar certified, surgeons are required to complete comprehensive course work, attend informational lectures, complete a case observation program, and perform a set number of new cases under the observation of a hidden scar expert.
As a certified surgeon, I have personally seen countless times how inspired patients are as they move beyond diagnosis and into survivorship. This new procedure is another way patients are able to move beyond their diagnosis.
Dr. Camelia Lawrence, FACS, is the director of breast surgery at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, where she performs hidden scar surgeries. For more information on the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, please visit www.thocc.org/services/cancer-care . To find a doctor, call 855.HHC.HERE.