A breast cancer diagnosis can stop you in your tracks and leave you wondering: What does this mean for my future? How will my body change? You may be flooded with emotions about the future, and this is completely natural.


If surgery is part of your treatment plan, you might worry about what you will look like afterward.


Surgery can leave scars, and for those who need to have a significant part of one or both breasts removed, it’s normal to have some anxiety about how your appearance may change. The psychological impacts of a mastectomy can touch various aspects of your life, from body image and self-confidence to sexuality and intimacy.




Women undergoing breast surgery have more options with far better results than ever before. “Advances in technology have dramatically improved results for patients undergoing breast cancer surgery and reconstruction,” said Melissa Crosby, M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.


“You’re in control of your treatment plan, and we work with you to personalize your plan based on your individual characteristics, preferences and expectations,” said Sandra Templeton, M.D., board-certified surgeon with Houston Methodist Breast Surgery Partners at Sugar Land.




Radar and radioactive seeds are used to pinpoint abnormal tissue and preserve healthy breast tissue. “Instead of relying on wire localization, we now use radioactive seeds and radar waves to pinpoint breast cancers while preserving healthy tissue,” Templeton said. For most breast cancers detected early on a mammogram, survival with a breast conserving surgery is the same as mastectomy.


Hidden Scar™ surgery involves making an incision in a discreet location under the breast fold or around the areola, resulting in a scar that is hidden. “Something as simple as hiding a scar can help a woman move forward without having a constant reminder of her breast cancer treatment,” Templeton said.




 Women who opt for a mastectomy have a range of options available for breast reconstructive surgery with implants, natural tissue or a combination of both. “Making the right choice is easier when you have a clear understanding of what to expect before and after surgery,” Crosby said.


Implant-based reconstruction involves rebuilding the breast using saline or silicone implants. “Options include having implant reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy, in a staged approach or after mastectomy and other treatments are done,” Crosby said.


Autologous or flap reconstruction uses tissue from another area of the body to reconstruct the breast, making it appear and feel natural. This procedure involves moving tissue, often from the abdomen, to the chest and reattaching the arteries and veins in the area. “Flap reconstruction may be a good option for women who want a natural-feeling breast and have enough tissue available to use for breast reconstruction,” Crosby explained.




When weighing your options, your doctor can help you make an informed decision based on facts, not fears. Together, you can review the factors that will impact your choices.


Physical characteristics — age, your overall health, breast size, breast density, the size and location of your breast cancer and the amount of tissue available for reconstruction.


Personal preferences — aesthetic goals, such as how you want your breasts to look and feel, symmetry and breast reduction options.


Logistical factors — timing of surgery, additional cancer treatments, having a support system and returning to work.


Recovery time is an important factor if you need to get back to your life faster and have fewer restrictions. In those cases, breast conserving surgery may be a good option, especially for older women and those whose health can make recovery difficult.


Breast cancer surgery and reconstructive surgery can be performed at the same time or separately. Your treatment plan can be designed so you can keep living your life.




Rely on our expertise to help you personalize your breast cancer treatment to fit your life. Visit houstonmethodist.org/breast to learn more or call 281.205.4514 to find a surgeon in your area.




Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s new and expanded Breast Care Center offers the area’s most advanced imaging technologies in a calm, comfortable, spa-like environment.


Our specialized breast radiologists and advanced technology can detect breast cancer at its earliest stage even in dense tissue, while using the lowest radiation exposure available.


We also offer evening and Saturday appointments. Schedule your 3D screening mammogram online at houstonmethodist.org/imaging or call 281.242.PINK (7465).