How much do you know about the procedures performed at MSJ's Providence Breast Centre?
Submitted by Bonny Bung, annual campaign officer Tapestry Foundation for Health Care
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - how much do you know about the procedures performed at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital's Providence Breast Centre?
Not everyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer requires a mastectomy – surgery that removes part or all of a breast. Sometimes a lumpectomy – surgery that removes only the lump and surrounding tissue – provides adequate treatment, in conjunction with other follow-up treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
Patients who require a mastectomy often choose to pursue reconstructive surgery after the removal of the breast.
“Mastectomy patients need access to a surgeon with expertise in breast reconstruction,” says Dr. Rebecca Warburton, a breast surgical oncologist and Medical Director of the Providence Breast Centre, “Mount St. Joseph Hospital has two such expert surgeons on staff.”
The MSJ breast reconstruction program offers two options for reconstructive surgery: immediate and delayed breast reconstruction. With immediate reconstruction, two surgeons (a general surgeon and a plastic surgeon) work together to remove the breast and insert an implant or replacement tissue in one operation.
“The patient undergoes only one anesthetic with this process,” says Dr. Warburton, “and is spared the emotional experience of being without a breast while they wait for the second operation.”
With delayed breast reconstruction, the surgeries are performed separately. The patient experiences two major surgeries, and lives with a mastectomy scar and the absence of a breast – until the second operation can be performed. The waiting list for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy can be as long as four years.
Patients scheduled for a mastectomy meet with Dr. Warburton and one of the plastic surgeons on staff at MSJ to determine whether or not they are a candidate for immediate reconstructive surgery. MSJ dedicates two operating rooms on Tuesdays for mastectomies with immediate breast reconstruction.
“We are able to book four cases per day in the two operating rooms,” says Dr. Warburton. “Fifty weeks per year means about two hundred cases annually are completed in this way.”
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