Skip Navigation
Menu Search
Sibley Memorial Hospital

In This Section      
Print This Page

Breast Cancer Surgery

The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer begins with a dedicated breast surgeon. Together, Drs. Colette M. Magnant and Bonnie Sun are leaders in all aspects of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Sullivan Breast Center treats more breast cancers than any other medical facility in Washington D.C. and Maryland, and our 10-plus years of experience are benefitting patients here and elsewhere as other centers shape their programs based on our practices and successes.

Our breast cancer surgeons take pride in discussing the surgery options with each patient and providing excellent specialized care. Specializations include oncoplastic techniques, nipple-sparing mastectomy, prophylactic mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. If you are considering breast reconstruction, both of our surgeons work alongside expert breast reconstructive surgeons. For a consultation, call the department at 202-243-5230 and allow our staff to schedule you with the appropriate provider.

When you arrive for your appointment, your complete breast health history will be reviewed. This will include a physical exam, followed by an in-depth consultation, which will give you the opportunity to review your options and decide which option is best for you. You can help speed the process by filling out our new patient form prior to coming to your appointment.

Specialties

Oncoplastic techniques: This surgery combines the latest plastic surgery techniques with a lumpectomy. When a large lumpectomy is required (which will leave the breast distorted), the remaining tissue can be sculpted to restore natural appearance to the breast. The opposing breast will also be reduced to create symmetry.

Nipple sparing mastectomy: A newer technique, this kind of mastectomy is reserved for a smaller number of women with tumors that are not near the nipple areola area. Your surgeon will make an incision on the outer side of the breast or around the edge of the areola and hollow out the breast, removing the areola and keeping the nipple intact. This method involves simultaneous reconstruction. Sometimes the completed reconstruction is done at the same time and in other cases, a tissue expander is inserted as a space holder for later reconstruction.

Prophylactic mastectomy: Prophylactic mastectomy is a surgery designed to remove one or both breasts in order to dramatically reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who test positive for certain genetic mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2, or who have a strong family history of breast cancer, may elect to do this kind of surgery. They may also elect to have their ovaries removed at the same time. Genetic counseling may help to confirm or eliminate any nagging suspicion about family history.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A sentinel node biopsy determines if breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. An important part of staging cancer, it impacts recommendations for a patient's treatment.

Breast reconstruction — implants, DIEP flap: The DIEP flap is the technique where skin and tissue (no muscle) is taken from the abdomen in order to recreate the breast. Other flap techniques, called the SIEA flap, the LSGAP flap and the SGAP flap, take tissue from the lower abdomen or lateral buttock regions.

Breast Cancer Surgery Options

Lumpectomy: The tumor in the breast is removed along with some of the surrounding tissue. Lumpectomies have become more common for women who have smaller tumors.

Total mastectomy: Mastectomy is the removal of the breast, including the nipple and areola.

Skin sparing mastectomy: This is a fairly new form of surgery that was developed at Johns Hopkins and other major cancer centers. The affected breast is hollowed out. Whether done as skin sparing, nipple sparing, areola sparing or a combination, one goal of this surgery is to minimize the surgical incisions that are visible. It is not uncommon for an entire mastectomy procedure to be performed through an opening that is less than two inches in length.

Nipple-sparing mastectomy: A newer technique, this kind of mastectomy is reserved for a smaller number of women with tumors that are not near the nipple areola area. Your surgeon will make an incision on the outer side of the breast or around the edge of the areola and hollow out the breast, removing the areola and keeping the nipple intact. This method involves simultaneous reconstruction. Sometimes the completed reconstruction is done at the same time and in other cases, a tissue expander is inserted as a space holder for later reconstruction.

Modified radical mastectomy: This procedure is removal of the breast, nipple and areola as well as axillary node dissection. Recovery, when surgery is done without reconstruction, is usually two to three weeks.

Oncoplastic breast surgery: This surgery combines the latest plastic surgery techniques with a lumpectomy. When a large lumpectomy is required (which will leave the breast distorted), the remaining tissue can be sculpted to restore natural appearance to the breast. The opposing breast will also be reduced to create symmetry.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A sentinel node biopsy determines if breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. An important part of staging cancer, it impacts recommendations for a patient's treatment.

Axillary lymph node dissection: Lymph nodes serve as a filtering system for the lymphatic system (a system of vessels that collects fluids from cells for filtration and reentry into the blood). The first node in the armpit area (axillae) that is affected by breast cancer is also called the sentinel, or guard node. If the cancer is found to have spread to this specific lymph node or other nodes in the axillary area, then your breast surgeon will probably recommend an axillary node dissection.

Contact Breast Surgery

Building D, Level 4
Phone: 202-243-5230
Fax: 202-243-5221