Minimally invasive or 'breast conserving' surgery has become one of the most frequently used ways to treat breast cancer. As compared to full mastectomies – the complete removal of all breast tissue – minimally invasive breast surgery leaves more tissue behind, allowing for improved cosmetic results. Today, newer and less invasive techniques allow surgeons to use smaller incisions, sparing much more skin and tissue than would have been possible with earlier techniques of breast surgery.
Lumpectomy less invasive
As opposed to mastecomy, lumpectomy is considered the less invasive form of surgery for the treatment of breast cancer. When a lumpectomy, or removal of a suspicious lump, must be performed, new types of diagnostic equipment allow surgeons to more efficiently target the lump. Often, minimally invasive procedures are able to remove the lump through a small incision usually placed near the nipple in order to minimize the appearance of scarring.
Some minimally invasive breast surgeries, particular minimally-invasive breast biopsies, use endoscopic techniques, which require local anesthesia and small incisions, rather than 'open' surgery, requiring a lengthy incision to allow the surgeon access to the breast tissue.
Endoscopic surgeries involve the use of an endoscope, which contains a small camera on the end of a flexible cord, in order to allow the surgeon to complete the work without creating a large incision. Other minimally invasive breast procedures use other methods to biopsy or remove a suspicious lump. For example, stereotactic breast biopsy uses a computerized process and fine needle to test suspicious breast lumps in a procedure typically taking an hour or less.
The goal of minimally invasive breast surgery is to minimize the length of incisions needed as well as the amount of tissue removed from the breast, in order to achieve more satisfactory aesthetic results. With new diagnostic and surgical technologies, minimally invasive procedures are becoming more and more common for the treatment of breast cancer.