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Breast Surgery

Established, Respected Service Takes Advantage of All of the Operative Options for Breast Disease

Sun Yong Lee, MD, FACS
Breast Surgeon
Director, Breast Health Program


Aria's experienced breast surgeons provide a well-established, successful surgical service for both benign and cancerous conditions of the breast. Aria's women's health services can also offer routine care aimed at monitoring breast health and caring for conditions that may arise.

Breast health is an important aspect of a woman's overall wellness and health maintenance.  Many common breast conditions that may involve lumps, change of consistency of the breast, pain, infection, or inflammation may be benign and can be treated medically.  Of course, surgery is also a vital component of treatment options for breast conditions. Aria's breast surgeons can help evaluate patients for possible surgery.  They collaborate closely with Aria's accomplished radiologists using the most up-to-date imaging studies to identify causes of breast abnormalities.

Learn more about Aria's
Breast Health Program /
Breast Health Committee
Our team works closely with the patient to make important decisions about surgical procedures for breast cancer treatment such as:

biopsy.  When our staff identifies one or more masses, lesions, growths, or calcifications that require further evaluation, they may need to remove all or part of these abnormalities for evaluation in the pathology lab. Most abnormalities seen on mammograms are not cancer. But to determine whether a patient's lesion is benign or malignant, specialists often must take a small sample of cells from the abnormal location and examine them under the microscope. Needle biopsy, usually guided by ultrasound, makes this step much less invasive and much easier to undergo than in past eras when a biopsy always required an incision and removal of significantly more tissue. The radiologist will sometimes use a vacuum-assisted needle to remove the entire lesion in question, if the lesion is small. In addition, specialists have also begun using MR imaging to guide biopsies (and to supplement screening for high-risk women), especially for breast biopsy. Some lesions are only, or best, visible with MR imaging and, thus, their biopsy is best guided by this modality. The radiologist may also use MR imaging to place a marker clip or guide wire at the site of a small breast lump, to help surgeons locate and remove the lump.

lumpectomy.  Using information from a patient's medical history, imaging studies, and biopsy results, the breast surgeon may determine that a breast lump must be removed in it's entirety but that the condition is limited enough, or diagnostic staging is early enough, that the breast itself can be preserved. Surgery to remove such masses is called lumpectomy (for removal of a lump). This procedure may sometimes include removal of the lymph nodes nearest the mass.

mastectomy. The surgical team may recommend removal of the breast if the cancer has spread or if breast-conserving procedures would not provide an acceptable cosmetic result due to the anatomy of the breast and mass tissue needing removal. The operation will involve varying degrees of removal of the nearby lymph system and chest tissue.

sentinel node surgery.In this procedure, the surgical team will inject dye into the breast lymph system near a breast mass that is to undergo resection. The dye flows first to, and identifies, one or more lymph nodes that receive most direct lymph drainage from the mass area. These nodes are most likely to contain metastatic cancer cells if the cancer has spread. The team can remove these nodes to establish the breast-cancer stage and to determine if additional removal of lymph, breast, or other tissue is necessary.

Our surgeons coordinate with the patients' personal or referring physician, as well as with other specialists such as radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Aria's Breast Health Program permits breast cancer patients to receive medical evaluation from a surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and a reconstructive plastic surgeon - all of whom have reviewed her medical situation with a pathologist and diagnostic radiologist prior to her consultation.

(For breast augmentation, lift, reduction, or other cosmetic procedures, see Aria's Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.)