Aesthetic Oncology for Breast Cancer Patients
by Danielle DeLuca-Pytell, MD, FACS
In 2004, after completing a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, I came to Northern Westchester Hospital and the Institute of Aesthetic Surgery for a fellowship in cosmetic surgery. I had a broad base of training in all elements of plastic surgery there, and had also spent time at MD Anderson Cancer Center to study microsurgical reconstruction as well. When I came to the Institute, I learned about a whole different type of breast reconstruction I had never been exposed to before: lumpectomy reconstruction. What I saw was the elegant marriage of two unique specialties blending into one: aesthetic oncology.
In our unique setting, plastic surgeons and breast surgeons would approach patients who desired breast conservation with a team approach. Using techniques from plastic surgery on the breast, such as breast lift or breast reduction, the lumpectomy is planned to both remove the patient’s breast cancer, and then rearrange the remaining breast tissue in a way that not only gives an excellent oncologic result, but an improved cosmetic result.
Patients who may have previously been poor lumpectomy candidates can now have breast conservation with our help. To me, this was truly revolutionary cancer surgery, and it was performed right here at our community hospital.
Even more amazing to me was the response from the patients. It is frequently heard from patients that they look better than before they had their diagnosis, and I often hear patients tell me that their own gynecologists, oncologists, internists, and mammographers comment on how attractive their breasts look after lumpectomy reconstruction.
When I speak to my plastic surgery colleagues around the country or New York hospital doctors in women’s health, it is rare to hear anyone doing this technique. And yet, 92% of our breast cancer patients undergo immediate reconstruction.
We have our own subspecialization of breast cancer surgery—aesthetic oncology—right here in Mount Kisco. It is the perfect example of expertise, technology, and humanity in one procedure.
Editor’s note: Dr. Danielle DeLuca-Pytell is part of the team of cancer and reconstructive surgeons at The Breast Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital. Dr. DeLuca-Pytell is a Board Certified, fellowship trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon with Northern Westchester Surgical Services, P.C.