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Who is suitable for therapeutic mammoplasty? 

Who is suitable for therapeutic mammoplasty? 

Oncoplastic breast surgery techniques are becoming increasingly popular when treating breast cancer. The surgery combines breast cancer treatment alongside plastic surgery techniques to coincide, allowing the surgeon to prioritise the cosmetic outcome of the breasts throughout the lumpectomy stage. However, oncoplastic breast surgeries, such as therapeutic mammoplasty, have certain criteria that may affect the suitability of a prospective patient.

This guide will explain what happens during therapeutic mammoplasty surgery; assessing the suitability of patients, and exploring available oncoplastic breast surgeries.

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What does therapeutic mammoplasty surgery involve?

During a lumpectomy, the breast cancer tumour is removed using a traditional excision method; this can cause a deformity in the breast shape, size and overall asymmetrical appearance. This deformity can be prevented with the use of oncoplastic breast surgery techniques.

Therapeutic mammoplasty is a form of breast conserving surgery that is a modified breast reduction operation. After the lumpectomy, the surgeon removes additional breast tissue to achieve a smaller and uplifted shape, avoiding the risk of a defect left by the wide local excision.

scar position diagram

The surgery often involves reshaping the breast and raising the nipple placement. Skin is closed with dissolvable stitches, with resulting scarring around the incision area. Radiotherapy should be followed afterwards to help reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Find out more about what therapeutic mammoplasty is here.

What are the benefits of therapeutic mammoplasty?

Also known as a wide local excision, a lumpectomy, on its own, may cause a deformity in the shape and size of the breast, and cause an asymmetrical appearance. The main benefit of combining breast cancer surgery with oncoplastic techniques, like therapeutic mammoplasty, is that the cosmetic outcome is considered and prioritised throughout.

The cancer is removed, and the breast is reconstructed in one surgery; benefiting the radiotherapy process and reducing the risk of the skin becoming sore and breaking down.

Find out more about follow-up radiotherapy after oncoplastic breast surgery here.

Breast cancer patients may worry about what their breasts will look like after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, which may cause a feeling of “loss”. Therapeutic mammoplasty helps improve the overall cosmetic result following breast cancer treatment.

Compare oncoplastic breast surgeries, like therapeutic mammoplasty, against mastectomies here.

Who is a good candidate for therapeutic mammoplasty surgery?

As breast reduction will be involved in therapeutic mammoplasty, it is important to assess the patient’s suitability beforehand.

Patients with large breasts

Therapeutic mammoplasty will best suit breast cancer patients with moderate to larger breasts. This is because existing breast tissue will be used to reshape the breasts to preserve their natural shape. However, it can be used in smaller breast if there is laxity or droop to the breast.

Patients who are willing to undergo a breast reduction

Therapeutic mammoplasty should be considered if the patient does not mind having a breast reduction. After therapeutic mammoplasty, there is a chance that the untreated breast may need reducing if there is significant asymmetry. Therefore, breast reduction or “symmetrisation surgery” may need to be performed later, but is usually performed at the same time.

This might also be an added benefit for women with larger breasts, as they may desire a breast reduction.

Patients with breast ptosis

Much like those with large or heavy breasts, breast cancer patients with breast ptosis (dropping of the breast tissue) may welcome breast reduction surgery that comes with therapeutic mammoplasty. This may also help patients with smaller breasts that droop, as this adds extra volume needed for therapeutic mammoplasty.

Patients with large or heavy breasts that are unsuitable for other oncoplastic surgeries

Oncoplastic breast surgery combines cancer treatment with plastic surgery techniques; however, not every patient is a suitable candidate. For example, the LTAP flap and the TDAP flap surgeries best suit patients with small-medium-sized breasts, as less skin and tissue are required during breast reconstruction.

If you are unsuitable for other oncoplastic breast surgeries, such as the LICAP flap, breast cancer patients may want to consider therapeutic mammoplasty.

Make sure to consult a specialist surgeon who can advise on the different types of breast cancer treatments, and find the best outcome for your needs.

Contact Stephen McCulley today to find out more.

Who is not a candidate for therapeutic mammoplasty?

Therapeutic mammoplasty primarily suits patients with larger breasts, which means that certain patients would not be suitable for the breast conserving surgery, including:

  • If the patient has health problems, such as diabetes

  • If the patient is severely overweight

  • If the patient has a small build

  • If the patient has small to medium-sized breasts without any laxity

It is important to seek a specialist surgeon who will be able to assess your suitability. Although you may have smaller breasts, there is a chance that therapeutic mammoplasty could be your best option for breast cancer treatment.

Contact us today to book your consultation.

What are the alternatives?

If you are not suitable for therapeutic mammoplasty, there are alternative breast cancer treatments that should be considered, featured in the table below:

Type of breast cancer surgery

What does this include?

When is it suitable?


The breast cancer tissue is removed by a wide local excision, without reshaping the breast.

If the tumour is relatively small, removal is unlikely to create breast asymmetry or defects.


The entire breast is removed, including the tumour and other breast tissue.

If the cancer is in a large area or has spread throughout the breast.

Partial breast reconstruction

The tumour is removed, and the breast is reconstructed using other tissue, such as from the back.

Patients who have small to medium-sized breasts, that do not have enough breast tissue for therapeutic mammoplasty.

Other oncoplastic breast surgeries may be more suitable depending on the patient’s individual needs.

Learn more about the different oncoplastic breast surgeries at our Advice Centre.

Stephen McCulley is a specialist surgeon in treating breast cancer and breast reconstruction. Book a consultation to ensure you receive the best breast cancer treatment.

Contact Stephen McCulley today to find out more about therapeutic mammoplasty.

Frequently asked questions

What is the recovery process like after therapeutic mammoplasty?

After oncoplastic breast surgery, such as therapeutic mammoplasty, breast cancer patients can expect an estimated four to six weeks of recovery. During this period, they will have to take care of the incisions, and bruising and swelling around the site will be expected in the following days.

Find out more about the recovery process after oncoplastic breast surgery here.