Hidden Scar For Breast Cancer Surgery


SAN ANTONIO, TX (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nearly 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many get a radical mastectomy with reconstruction. But a groundbreaking medical technique called Hidden Scar offers new hope to women in the form of minimal cutting of the breast and a better cosmetic result.

Amy Case is a website consultant and full-time mother, but a recent mammogram stopped her in her tracks.

“I had a pre-cancerous condition called atypical hyperplasia. It increases your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and then if you add a family history to that, it significantly increases your lifetime risk,” said Case.

Case chose to undergo a groundbreaking technique called Hidden Scar, in which breast tissue removal and breast implants are done at the same time through a small incision.

Morton Kahlenberg, MD, the Medical Director at Baptist Network for Cancer Care, Baptist Health Systems, San Antonio, Texas said, “The traditional mastectomy has been a wide incision to include the nipple aureole, removal of skin and a very lengthy or longer incision. Now we can affect the same change, meaning removal of the breast tissue by making tinier incisions.”

(Read Full Interview)

The incision is hidden under the fold of the breast.  Quite appealing to a young mom like Case, who’d never had any surgery, much less a radical mastectomy.

“The plastic surgeon came in to check on me and once I realized I was whole, I looked good, I felt great about it,” said Case.

Doctors say that being able to minimize scarring and restore the breasts reduces the patient’s anxiety level.  Amy says after this experience, she appreciates the little things in life.

“I feel for a lot of my adult life I was cruising, in some regard, and now I’m much more conscious of everything,” Case told Ivanhoe.

Hidden Scar is available at 100 hospitals around the country, so the doctor advises patients to ask whether they’re a candidate.  The surgery also involves nurse navigators who guide patients through the entire cancer surgery process.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4485

 BACKGROUND: Mastectomy is the removal of the whole breast. There are five different types of mastectomy: “simple” or “total” mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, partial mastectomy, and subcutaneous (nipple-sparing) mastectomy. Simple or total mastectomy concentrates on the breast tissue itself and the surgeon removes the entire breast. The surgeon does not remove lymph nodes in the underarm area, and no muscles are removed from beneath the breast. Modified radical mastectomy involves the removal of both breast tissue, entire breast, and lymph nodes but no muscles are removed. Radical mastectomy is the most extensive type of mastectomy, where the surgeon removes the entire breast, levels I, II, and III of the underarm lymph nodes are removed and the surgeon also removes the chest wall muscles under the breast. Partial mastectomy is the removal of the cancerous part of the breast tissue and some normal tissue around it and in nipple-sparing mastectomy, all of the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple is left alone.

(Source: https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/mastectomy/what_is)

DIAGNOSING: Often, the appearance of a mastectomy scar will depend upon the incision and approach a surgeon takes. To begin the surgery, a surgeon will make an incision in the chest skin to expose the inner portion of the breast. Once the surgeon has removed the breast tissue, muscles, and lymph nodes as needed, the surgeon will suture the skin where the incision was made. As the wound heals, a mastectomy scar will form. Despite the different approaches described in this article, the majority of mastectomy scars heal in a horizontal line across the chest, sometimes in a half-moon shape. Often, the incision type and resulting scar depend upon where the breast cancer lesion was in the first place.

(Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320379.php)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Morton Kahlenberg, MD, Medical Director, Baptist Network for Cancer Care at Baptist Health Systems, San Antonio, Texas explained the Hidden Scar procedure: “While the equipment may very well be the same it’s the approach and the expertise of the surgeon that’s dramatically different. The traditional mastectomy has been a wide incision to include the nipple areola, removal of skin and a very lengthier or longer incision. And we can resect that skin, importantly the breast tissue and the breast tumor and then either not reconstruct or reconstruct. That was the traditional approach. Now we can affect the same change, meaning removal of the breast tissue by making a tinier incision, having better lighting, better retraction and affect the same change which is the mastectomy through this much tinier well positioned, well located incision.”

(Source: Morton Kahlenberg, MD)


Natalie Gutierrez, PR Baptist Hospital



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Morton Kahlenberg, MD, Medical Director

Read the entire Q&A