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Oncoplastic Surgery in Breast Cancer Treatment: UAE's Techniques

02 Nov, 2023

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Breast cancer is a global health concern, affecting women from all corners of the world. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), medical professionals have made significant strides in the treatment of breast cancer. One of the innovative approaches to breast cancer surgery in the UAE is oncoplastic surgery. This technique not only aims to remove cancer but also to achieve the best possible aesthetic outcomes, ensuring that patients can regain their confidence and quality of life post-surgery. In this blog, we will delve into the role of oncoplastic surgery in breast cancer treatment and highlight the techniques employed in the UAE.

Understanding Oncoplastic Surgery

Oncoplastic surgery is a specialized approach to breast cancer surgery that combines the principles of oncology (cancer removal) with plastic surgery (aesthetic considerations). The primary objective is to remove cancerous tissue while simultaneously preserving the natural appearance and symmetry of the breast. This surgical technique is particularly relevant for women who wish to maintain their physical and emotional well-being post-surgery.

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The Importance of Oncoplastic Surgery

Oncoplastic surgery offers several benefits that make it an essential component of breast cancer treatment in the UAE:

1. Improved Cosmetic Outcomes

Conventional breast cancer surgery can result in physical deformities or breast asymmetry. Oncoplastic surgery, on the other hand, focuses on preserving the breast's appearance, ensuring that patients feel confident and comfortable in their bodies after surgery.

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2. Enhanced Quality of Life

Breast cancer treatment can be physically and emotionally challenging. Oncoplastic surgery aims to minimize the impact of breast cancer surgery on a patient's self-esteem and body image, which can significantly improve their overall quality of life.

3. Tailored Treatment

Oncoplastic surgery is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Surgeons in the UAE use personalized techniques based on a patient's unique circumstances, ensuring that each patient receives the most suitable treatment plan.

Procedure of Oncoplastic Surgery in Breast Cancer Treatment

Oncoplastic surgery is a specialized approach to breast cancer treatment that combines the principles of oncology with plastic surgery techniques. The primary goal of oncoplastic surgery is to remove cancerous tissue while preserving the natural appearance of the breast. The procedure is highly individualized, and the specific techniques used may vary based on the patient's needs and the extent of the cancer. Here, we outline the general steps involved in oncoplastic surgery:

Step 1: Preoperative Assessment

Consultation and Evaluation

  • The process begins with a thorough consultation with the patient. This is an essential step to understand the patient's concerns, preferences, and treatment goals.
  • The surgeon assesses the extent of the breast cancer, including the size and location of the tumor, the involvement of lymph nodes, and the general health of the patient.


  • Advanced imaging techniques such as mammography, ultrasound, and MRI are used to provide a clear view of the tumor and surrounding breast tissue.

Step 2: Surgical Planning

Multidisciplinary Team

  • A multidisciplinary team, including breast surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and plastic surgeons, collaborates to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
  • The team determines whether the patient is a candidate for oncoplastic surgery and discusses the most appropriate surgical techniques.

Customized Treatment Plan

  • The treatment plan is personalized to the patient's unique needs and may involve different oncoplastic techniques, such as volume replacement, nipple-sparing mastectomy, or hidden scar surgery.

Step 3: Surgery

The surgery itself involves several key components, which can vary depending on the chosen oncoplastic techniques.

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1. Cancer Removal

  • The first priority is to remove the cancerous tissue. This may involve lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue) or mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) in some cases.

2. Plastic Surgery Techniques

  • Volume Replacement: If a lumpectomy is performed, the surgeon may use autologous tissue (tissue from the patient's own body) or breast implants to replace the tissue that was removed. This helps maintain breast shape and volume.
  • Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: In cases where mastectomy is required, a nipple-sparing mastectomy may be performed to preserve the nipple and areola, providing a more natural appearance.
  • Hidden Scar Surgery: Surgeons make incisions in areas that are not easily visible, minimizing scarring and ensuring an aesthetically pleasing outcome.
  • Lipofilling: Fat grafting, or lipofilling, may be used to transfer fat from other parts of the body to the breast area, helping to restore breast volume and symmetry.

Step 4: Postoperative Care


  • The recovery period varies depending on the specific surgical techniques used but typically involves a healing process that can last several weeks. Patients receive guidance on postoperative care and follow-up appointments with their healthcare team.

Emotional Support

  • The psychological impact of breast cancer and its treatment is significant. Patients are provided with psycho-oncological support, counseling, and resources to help them cope with the emotional aspects of their journey.

Step 5: Follow-Up and Surveillance

Regular Check-ups

  • After surgery, patients will have regular check-ups and mammograms to monitor their breast health and ensure that the cancer does not return.

Oncoplastic Surgery Techniques in the UAE

The UAE is at the forefront of oncoplastic surgery techniques, and the following are some of the methods employed:

1. Volume Replacement

Volume replacement is a common technique used in oncoplastic surgery in the UAE. This involves the removal of the cancerous tissue and the subsequent reconstruction of the breast using autologous tissue (from the patient's own body) or implants. This helps to maintain breast shape and volume.

2. Nipple-sparing Mastectomy

In cases where a mastectomy is required, UAE surgeons often perform nipple-sparing mastectomies. This technique preserves the nipple and areola, resulting in a more natural appearance after surgery. It can be combined with immediate breast reconstruction to minimize the physical and emotional impact on patients.

3. Hidden Scar Surgery

To ensure minimal scarring and an aesthetically pleasing outcome, surgeons in the UAE perform hidden scar surgery. Incisions are strategically placed in natural creases or hidden areas, reducing the visibility of scars and further enhancing the patient's confidence.

4. Lipofilling

Lipofilling, also known as fat grafting, is another innovative technique in the UAE. This procedure involves transferring fat from one part of the body to the breast area, helping to restore breast volume and symmetry while ensuring a natural look and feel.

5. Patient-Centric Approach

UAE medical professionals take a patient-centric approach, involving patients in decision-making about their treatment. This collaborative approach empowers patients to choose the oncoplastic surgical techniques that align with their goals and preferences.

Advancements in Oncoplastic Surgery

As the field of oncoplastic surgery continues to evolve, the UAE remains at the forefront of these advancements, offering patients access to the latest techniques and technologies. Here are some of the recent developments in oncoplastic surgery that have further improved breast cancer treatment in the UAE:

1. 3D Imaging and Simulation

Surgeons in the UAE have adopted advanced 3D imaging and simulation tools, allowing them to create a precise and personalized surgical plan for each patient. These tools help surgeons visualize the outcome of the surgery and make informed decisions about incision placement, volume replacement, and overall aesthetic results.

2. Minimally Invasive Approaches

In the quest to reduce surgical trauma, UAE surgeons are increasingly using minimally invasive techniques for oncoplastic surgery. These approaches involve smaller incisions, shorter recovery times, and fewer complications, while still achieving excellent cosmetic outcomes.

3. Multidisciplinary Care

Oncoplastic surgery in the UAE is not confined to the operating room. Multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and plastic surgeons collaborate to provide comprehensive care. This approach ensures that patients receive holistic support from diagnosis through surgery and recovery.

4. Psycho-Oncological Support

Recognizing the emotional toll that a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can take, the UAE emphasizes the importance of psycho-oncological support. Patients have access to counseling, support groups, and resources to help them navigate the emotional aspects of their journey.

Cost of Oncoplastic Surgery in Breast Cancer UAE

The cost of oncoplastic surgery in breast cancer in the UAE varies depending on the type of surgery, the hospital, and the surgeon's fee. However, it is generally more expensive than traditional mastectomy or lumpectomy.

According to a 2023 study, the average cost of oncoplastic surgery in breast cancer in the UAE is around $2950 US dollars. However, this can range from around $2500 to $5000 or more, depending on the factors mentioned above.


Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to have oncoplastic surgery in breast cancer in the UAE:

  • Cost: As mentioned above, oncoplastic surgery is generally more expensive than traditional mastectomy or lumpectomy. However, it is important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits of oncoplastic surgery, such as improved cosmetic outcomes, better preservation of breast function, and reduced risk of recurrence.
  • Availability: Oncoplastic surgery is not yet available in all hospitals in the UAE. However, it is becoming increasingly common, and there are a number of hospitals that offer oncoplastic surgery for breast cancer.
  • Surgeon's experience: It is important to choose a surgeon who is experienced in oncoplastic surgery. Oncoplastic surgery is a complex procedure, and it is important to have a surgeon who is skilled in its use.
  • Medical condition: Oncoplastic surgery is not suitable for everyone. It is important to talk to your doctor about whether or not oncoplastic surgery is the right option for your medical condition.

Challenges and Future Directions in Oncoplastic Surgery

While oncoplastic surgery has made significant strides in improving breast cancer treatment in the UAE, it is not without its challenges. Additionally, the future of oncoplastic surgery holds both promising advancements and areas that need further development. In this section, we will discuss the challenges and future directions in the field.

1. Accessibility

One of the key challenges in oncoplastic surgery is ensuring that all breast cancer patients have equal access to these advanced techniques. In some cases, disparities in access to healthcare services can limit the availability of oncoplastic surgery, particularly for underserved or remote populations.

2. Surgical Training and Expertise

Oncoplastic surgery requires a high level of surgical expertise that not all medical professionals possess. Ensuring that surgeons receive adequate training and continuing education in oncoplastic techniques is crucial to maintain the quality of care.

3. Cost Considerations

Advanced oncoplastic surgery techniques, such as microsurgical reconstruction and sophisticated imaging, can be cost-intensive. Balancing the benefits of these procedures with cost considerations and the financial burden on patients or healthcare systems is an ongoing challenge.

Future Directions

1. Further Advancements in Minimally Invasive Techniques

The future of oncoplastic surgery in the UAE and globally is likely to see a continued emphasis on minimally invasive techniques. These approaches aim to reduce surgical trauma, shorten recovery times, and improve patient outcomes.

2. Personalized Treatment Plans

Advancements in genomics and precision medicine will enable the tailoring of oncoplastic surgery to each patient's unique genetic profile and tumor characteristics. This personalization will optimize treatment effectiveness and minimize side effects.

3. Regenerative Medicine

The integration of regenerative medicine techniques, such as tissue engineering and stem cell therapy, into oncoplastic surgery may offer new avenues for breast reconstruction and tissue repair. These approaches could further enhance the natural feel and appearance of reconstructed breasts.

4. Patient Education and Advocacy

Empowering patients with knowledge about oncoplastic surgery and their options is a crucial aspect of future breast cancer care. Patient advocacy groups and education campaigns can play a significant role in raising awareness about these techniques and their benefits.

5. International Collaboration

Collaboration between medical professionals and researchers in the UAE and the global medical community will foster the exchange of knowledge and experiences, ultimately leading to the development of best practices in oncoplastic surgery.

Patient Stories:

Behind the technical aspects and medical advancements of oncoplastic surgery in the UAE, there are the stories of countless breast cancer survivors who have benefited from these innovative techniques. These real-life accounts highlight the profound impact of oncoplastic surgery on the lives of patients.

1. Maria's Story

Maria, a resident of Dubai, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. Faced with the daunting prospect of surgery, she was initially concerned about the potential changes to her body. However, her consultation with a surgeon who specialized in oncoplastic surgery in the UAE provided her with a newfound sense of hope.

Maria underwent a nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction, a procedure that was made possible by oncoplastic techniques. The outcome was remarkable, and she not only defeated cancer but also retained her natural appearance. Maria's story serves as an inspiring testament to the life-changing impact of oncoplastic surgery in the UAE.

2. Samira's Journey

Samira, a mother of three from Abu Dhabi, had a similar experience. After her breast cancer diagnosis, she was apprehensive about the potential physical changes that surgery might bring. However, her surgeon explained the oncoplastic approach and the various techniques available to preserve her breast's natural appearance.

Samira opted for a hidden scar surgery, which minimized visible scarring and ensured that her body image remained intact. She later expressed how this procedure allowed her to regain her self-confidence and feel comfortable in her skin once more.

These stories exemplify the emotional and psychological healing that oncoplastic surgery can provide alongside the critical medical aspect. It underscores the importance of spreading awareness about these techniques to empower more women to make informed decisions about their breast cancer treatment.

Looking Ahead

The role of oncoplastic surgery in breast cancer treatment in the UAE is not only about surgical techniques and medical advancements; it's about empowering women to regain control of their lives. By offering innovative solutions that prioritize aesthetics and quality of life, the UAE's healthcare system sets a standard for breast cancer care worldwide.

As oncoplastic surgery continues to evolve, we can expect even more personalized, patient-centric approaches, with an emphasis on minimally invasive procedures, advanced imaging, and multidisciplinary collaboration. This progress promises to further enhance the quality of care and the outcomes for breast cancer patients.

In conclusion, oncoplastic surgery in the UAE is a beacon of hope for those affected by breast cancer. It's a testament to the commitment of healthcare professionals to not only treat the disease but also to heal the spirit. The UAE's techniques in oncoplastic surgery serve as an inspiration for the global medical community, highlighting the potential for a more comprehensive, patient-centered approach to breast cancer treatment.

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Oncoplastic surgery is a specialized approach that combines the principles of oncology and plastic surgery. It differs from traditional breast cancer surgery by not only focusing on cancer removal but also on preserving the natural appearance of the breast. Traditional surgery may lead to deformities or breast asymmetry, while oncoplastic surgery aims to achieve the best aesthetic outcomes.