In a breakthrough for Long Island women diagnosed with breast cancer, NYU Winthrop Hospital recently announced that is has been named Long Island’s first Hidden Scar Center of Excellence in recognition of the hospital now offering an advanced approach to breast cancer surgery that removes cancerous tissue but hides visible scarring. This “hidden scar” approach is a breakthrough—and expected to be the wave of the future—that allows NYU Winthrop‘s surgeons to operate to eradicate breast cancer while at the same time producing optimal cosmetic outcomes. The latter is of increasing importance when viewing the patient as a whole, given that more than 65 percent of women having undergone breast cancer surgery are reported to be left feeling self-conscious and unhappy with the remaining scar. Approximately 253,000 women annually are diagnosed with breast cancer requiring surgery.
“By utilizing the less invasive Hidden Scar approach to surgery, we minimize for women the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis,” said Virginia Maurer, MD, chief of breast surgery at NYU Winthrop and director of the breast health program. “We expect this procedure to become the new ‘normal’ for breast cancer surgery and are proud to pave the way, introducing this important advancement to women on Long Island.”
There are two surgical treatment options for breast cancer: a breast-conserving lumpectomy that removes only part of the breast tissue; or a mastectomy that removes all of the breast tissue. The Hidden Scar approach can be used in either situation. The smaller incision of the approach requires consistent illumination of the surgical cavity, which is guided by advanced photonics—Intelligent Photonics technology—that improves visibility within the breast cavity, allowing NYU Winthrop surgeons to clearly see and effectively remove the tumor. The specially trained surgeons remove the cancerous tissue through a single incision made in a hidden area, preserving the natural shape of the breast while reducing visible scarring. The less-invasive incision may be in the natural crease beneath the breast; in the armpit hidden in a natural fold; or along the edges of the areola, which can be very desirable for some mastectomies, since it is a nipple-sparing technique.
The Hidden Scar approach was developed by Invuity, Inc., a leading medical technology company focused on advanced surgical devices, and now a part of Stryker. Invuity’s Intelligent Photonics technology improves a surgeon’s ability to perform minimal-access surgery through smaller and hidden incisions.
“Our goal is to go well above and beyond standards of care, and that includes helping a patient continue to feel like a whole woman by using the Hidden Scar procedure to minimize disfigurement,” said Added Shubhada Dhage, MD, director of breast surgical services and associate director of Breast Health at NYU Winthrop Hospital. “We not only take into account the safest and best breast cancer treatments, but also consider how a cancer diagnoses fits into a woman’s lifetime.”
Patients who undergo the Hidden Scar approach experience optimal clinical and cosmetic outcomes and are at no higher risk of cancer recurrence than patients who undergo other breast cancer surgical techniques. The Hidden Scar procedure is available to most breast cancer candidates, with some exclusions based on the size and location of a tumor, breast shape and breast size.
—Submitted by NYU Winthrop Hospital