Breast Disease

Surgical Treatment of Breast Disease

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 178,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed each year. Medical advances and an increase in the number of mammograms administered have significantly brought down the mortality rate of breast cancer patients, but until a cure is found, early detection is crucial for successful treatment. Because the breast is prone to so many types of disorders, some malignant, most not, careful evaluation is always recommended for patients with symptoms such as abnormal mammogram, lumps, nipple discharge or pain.

Helping Pinpoint Breast Cancer Early

If you find a lump in your breast or have an abnormal mammogram, chances are you will be referred to Dr. E. Stephen Yeager, Dr. Jeffrey S. Mandel and Dr. Christa L. Jillard at SouthCoast Health Surgery for further evaluation. Frequently, a biopsy may be required to definitively identify the cause of the abnormality.

Our physicians are some of only a few surgeons in the area who perform stereotactic core needle biopsy. With this minimally invasive procedure,  a small needle is used to obtain tissue samples of a breast lesion for sampling. There is no significant scarring to the breast, and it is less painful than open surgical biopsy.

If Cancer Is Found

Although the majority of abnormalities in the breast are benign, when the diagnosis of cancer is made, further surgery may be required. Breast cancer includes many different varieties and stages that may lead us to recommend certain surgical treatments. Dr. Yeager, Dr. Mandel and Dr. Jillard take part in a “multidisciplinary breast conference” each week to discuss breast cancer cases with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. By collaborating, this team of specialists is able to develop the most effective treatment plan for patients.

Dr. Yeager, Dr. Mandel and Dr. Jillard are highly trained and experienced in today’s most advanced treatment methods for breast cancer, including lumpectomy (also known as partial mastectomy) and total mastectomy. Finally, our goal is to provide patients with the best cosmetic results possible. One of the ways they do this is by coordinating breast reconstruction surgeries with highly skilled and board-certified plastic surgeons, if needed.

Our surgeons at SouthCoast Health Surgery, perform sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLN), which is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed at the same time as your definitive breast surgery. With SLN, Dr. Yeager, Dr. Mandel and Dr. Jillard can identify – and remove – the first lymph node that cancer cells which have left the breast and started to spread would come into contact with. In 2001, Dr. Yeager led a clinical study on sentinel node biopsies for St. Joseph’s Hospital, the results of which led to the procedure being available to patients in and around Savannah.

Visit our Patient Education Guide to learn more about Breast Disease.