Registration is open for TME Foundation’s inaugural continuing medical education course, which will focus on a team approach to oncoplastic surgery (OPS), an advanced form of breast cancer surgery, and will take place June 28-29 in Chicago.

The course will enable surgeons to learn from some of the nation’s leading OPS experts. While teams of breast and plastic surgeons are encouraged to attend together, any surgeon looking to incorporate OPS into their practice will benefit from the two-day course, according to a media release from TME Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the standard of care for breast cancer treatment.

“An important part of recovery from the trauma of any cancer diagnosis is helping your patient put the entire experience behind her, which is harder to do if she has a daily reminder in the form of a disfiguring scar. It isn’t about vanity; it’s about recovery,” says course co-director Barry Rosen, MD, FACS, a breast surgeon based in Barrington, Ill, in the release.

“There are oncoplastic principles that can be applied to every breast cancer operation, and our goal is to teach practical skills that surgeons can apply immediately to help improve the quality of care they offer their patients.”

OPS combines breast cancer surgery with plastic and reconstructive techniques to achieve the best possible cosmetic outcomes without compromising cancer care. Various oncoplastic approaches — ranging from tumor site closure to breast reductions or lifts — can allow patients to look the same, if not better, than they did before surgery.

Many of these techniques are basic and can be mastered in a short time; others require advanced techniques that are ideally performed in partnership with a fellowship-trained plastic surgeon. The goal of the course is to enable participants to offer oncoplastic surgery to all of their patients and to differentiate those that can be done alone versus a team-approach.

Research supports the benefits and safety of oncoplastic surgery. For women with early-stage breast cancer, OPS can mean fewer complications, better aesthetic outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction. It can also help surgeons increase the number of women who are eligible for breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy). Numerous studies show that oncoplastic techniques have lower re-excision rates compared to breast conserving therapy alone.

Despite its benefits, oncoplastic surgery has not yet been widely adopted in the United States. According to course co-director Anne Peled, MD, one reason could be that breast surgeons may not have sufficient training to perform more complex OPS procedures. In addition, there is often a misconception that plastic surgeons are less interested in doing breast reconstruction. By partnering with plastic surgeons, general and breast surgeons will be able to offer their patients the full spectrum of oncoplastic techniques, the release explains.

“Oncoplastic surgery is about designing the operation to fit the patient’s goals and then finding the most qualified person or team to perform that particular procedure,” says Peled, a San Francisco board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast oncologic and reconstructive surgery.

“We want to support breast and general surgeons by teaching them the skills they need to perform oncoplastic procedures. We can also help them recognize when it may be better to partner with a plastic surgeon in order to provide the best possible outcome.”

The course provides 16 CME credits, which attendees can apply toward the recently announced oncoplastic surgery certification from the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS). Registration is limited to ensure optimum faculty interaction.

The course will feature didactic lectures with two separate tracks customized for either beginning or advanced oncoplastic procedures. In addition, hands-on lab rotations will allow attendees to practice techniques like basic tissue rearrangement, simple and complex reduction mammaplasties, pre-pectoral implants, and others. The course will teach oncoplastic approaches for both breast conservation therapy and mastectomy.

Teams of breast and plastic surgeons will teach combined sessions. This includes case study presentations educating participants about the oncologic and reconstructive aspects of breast cancer surgery and how these two very important elements affect one another, Rosen adds in the release.

[Source(s): TME Foundation, PR Newswire]