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CHS's Hidden Scar Surgery Offers Unique Approach to Treating Breast Cancer

October 13th, 2020
Breast Cancer

Women diagnosed with breast cancer have several treatment options that will allow them to enjoy a healthy life.

Catholic Health Services’s St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center offers Hidden Scar Surgery, which effectively removes cancerous tumors and greatly minimizes any disfigurement from large incisions or extraction of breast issue.

The only Suffolk County hospital offering this technique, St. Catherine’s Director of Breast Health Jana Deitch, MD, explained that great care is taken during surgery to minimize the appearance of large scars from a mastectomy or lumpectomy.

During surgery, Dr. Deitch makes an incision in a “hidden” area of the breast such as under the arm pit, along the bra line or on the areola where tissue coloration allows a scar to be easily masked.

“Mastectomy incisions across the breast would leave a scar of up to 10 centimeters while lumpectomies can leave scars as large as 4 centimeters,” she said. “This can be psychologically damaging for women. Every time they looked in the mirror, they would see a large scar and be reminded of what they had gone through.”

In addition to minimizing the appearance of post-surgical scarring, Dr. Deitch also takes steps to reconstruct the breast to ensure it is cosmetically appealing.

“If the skin is just closed during a lumpectomy, a scar and a dimple or contour deformity can be seen,” she said. “During surgery, I make sure to build up the tissue to maintain the shape of the breast, while making the scar hidden”

Although Dr. Deitch has used this technique for many years, most of her patients first hear of Hidden Scar Surgery during their initial consultation.

“The first response I typically receive when discussing Hidden Scar is that women aren’t concerned about their physical appearance and just want the cancer out,” she said. “I assure them that we will remove the cancer and will also make sure to maintain their physical appearance. They may not think that’s important at first but down the road they will be glad we used the technique.”

Information on CHS’s breast cancer treatment options may be obtained by calling (844) 86-CANCER or visit chsli.org/breast-cancer.

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