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How do the different types of oncoplastic breast surgery compare?

How do the different types of oncoplastic breast surgery compare?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Every year, there are around 56,000 new cases of breast cancer, resulting one woman being diagnosed every ten minutes. The survival and remission rates have continued to improve, doubling in the past forty years. This is due to the combination of new treatments and dedicated care in spotting early signs.

After breast cancer surgery, where the number one priority is typically to remove all cancer, many may struggle to come to terms with what they have lost. Oncoplastic breast surgery combines plastic surgery techniques, such as breast reconstruction, to help treat breast cancer whilst considering the final appearance. This guide will look at the different types of oncoplastic breast surgery, how each compares to the other, and how Stephen McCulley can help.

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What is oncoplastic surgery?

Oncoplastic breast surgery combines tumour removal, such as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, alongside plastic surgery techniques to treat breast cancer. The oncoplastic breast conservation surgery focuses on not only removing the breast cancer but also helps a patient’s confidence with how their breasts will look after surgery has finished. Find out more about our breast cancer surgery techniques here.

Many patients may feel anxious about the loss of their breasts or any other asymmetrical features that occur through surgery. Oncoplastic breast surgery strives to make this process as easy as possible, utilising plastic surgery techniques.


This is one of the most common treatments during oncoplastic breast conservation surgery. A surgeon will remove cancer-affected tissue, and the surrounding cancer-ridden area, without removing the entire breast.

However, after removing the cancer, this can affect the size and shape of the breast, causing a difference in look and symmetry. Stephen McCulley is a leading expert in breast conservation surgery. We don’t just focus on removing the cancer. Breast reconstruction and improving the appearance of the affected area are also one of our priorities.

What are the different types of oncoplastic breast surgery?

According to a study, around 75% of patients after breast surgery end with aesthetically pleasing results, with little or no asymmetry. However, the other 20 to 25% have lasting side effects that may require further surgery. In oncoplastic breast conservation surgery, this issue is addressed throughout the treatment.

There are various types of oncoplastic breast surgery. The type a patient undergoes depends on certain factors, such as the size of the cancer and the mass of areas affected. It also may be reliant on the patient and what will help improve their well-being. Oncoplastic surgery is an approach to address cancer and aesthetic needs for each patient. For many this term relates to adapting breast conserving surgery for improved results in relevant patients. However, it does also apply to mastectomy cases.

Skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM)

Some patients will need a mastectomy to treat their cancer, usually when the cancer is large in size, in multiple areas of breast or a large area of pre-cancerous change. In SSM the breast skin is preserved but some skin and the nipple and areola, is removed during this treatment to help with the cancer prognosis. In these cases, skin-sparing techniques can be utilised throughout surgery for breast reconstruction, assisting in maintaining the overall look of the breast afterwards.

SSM combines both breast cancer treatment with plastic surgery procedures. After the breast tissue is removed, the surgeon will use a range of techniques to reconstruct a breast and preserving most or all the breast skin.

The alternative is sometimes the nipple can be preserved and this is a Nipple Sparing Mastectomy (NSM).

Find out more about the differences between oncoplastic breast surgeries and mastectomies here with our complete comparison guide.


A less invasive version of breast reduction is a bilateral breast lift, otherwise known as a mastopexy. Instead of a significant amount of breast tissue from both being removed, the only tissue taken is from the first original excision.

Accompanied by other aesthetic treatments, (like nipple relocation), this form of oncoplastic surgery can help the breasts become more symmetrical.

Benefits of mastopexy include:

  • The breasts regain more of their original shape

  • Helps with symmetry.

Therapeutic Mammaplasty

Another form of oncoplastic conservation surgery is therapeutic mammoplasty. This involves reshaping the breast and raising the nipple higher. In situations where the area that needs to be removed is much larger than the size of the breast, this plastic surgery technique is often utilised by a trained surgeon.

At Stephen McCulley, our most common form of breast oncoplastic surgery is therapeutic mammaplasty. Our trained surgeons work closely with each of our patients to ensure that this technique will work the most effectively for them, tailoring our services to meet their specifications. Find out about our breast cancer treatments for more information.

Benefits of therapeutic mammaplasty include:

  • Provides breast reduction in very large breasts
  • Breast reduction can help make radiation therapy easier.

Find out more about therapeutic mammaplasty here.

How Stephen McCulley can help

Getting diagnosed with breast cancer can be a scary and stressful time. We are here to make this period as simple as possible, with the latest treatments and plastic surgery techniques. If you are interested in oncoplastic breasts surgery, contact Stephen McCulley for advice and what you should do.

Going private for oncoplastic breast surgery has its benefits. There is more freedom in who you choose as your consultant and a more tailored treatment plan that prioritises your best interests.

If you or a family member require oncoplastic breast surgery, get in contact with us today for a callback or even just some helpful advice.

Frequently asked questions

Will I have any scars after surgery?

All breast surgery will leave some form of scarring. However, the process of oncoplastic takes into consideration what the breast will look like afterwards. Thought is gone into the surgery to ensure that the scars are strategically placed and do not take away from the final appearance.

Who is eligible for oncoplastic surgery?

The various oncoplastic breast surgery techniques mean that they can be used on all breast shapes and sizes. However, some patients will not be suitable. Speak to a consultant today to see if you are eligible.

How painful is a breast lumpectomy?

During the procedure, patients will be under general anaesthesia so there will no pain. However, post-surgery, side effects include pain, swelling and bruising. This is normal and will usually resolve itself within a week.

After breast surgery, our team offers aftercare to further assist your concerns. Find out more about aftercare and who to contact here.

Do you need plastic surgery after a lumpectomy?

Sometimes. The lumpectomy may drastically alter the appearance of the breasts, depending on how much breast tissue needs to be removed. Some may worry that the surgery will change how they look and consequently, affect their overall mental health.

Oncoplastic breast surgery is an ideal solution that combines procedures, such as a lumpectomy, with plastic surgery techniques that focus on ensuring the breasts have a final aesthetically pleasing look.

Related content

Understanding Oncoplastic Breast Surgery | Stephen McCulley

Comparing Oncoplastic Breast Surgery and Mastectomies

Oncoplastic Breast Surgery Types: Therapeutic Mammoplasty