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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


ASCOBT 2023: Robot-Assisted Breast-Conserving Surgery and Cosmetic Results

By: Amanda E. Ruffino, BA
Posted: Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Robot-assisted breast-conserving surgery may improve cosmetic outcomes for patients with early-stage breast cancer, based on initial findings of a small study by Se Hyun Paek, MD, PhD, of Ewha Womens University, Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues. Conducted from January to December 2021, the investigation showcased the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of this innovative approach. The study results were presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breakthrough meeting (Abstract 17) in Yokohama, Japan.

A total of 15 female patients, with an average age of 53.7 years and a tumor size of 1.6 cm, underwent robot-assisted breast-conserving surgery. Among them, seven had in situ cancer, and eight had invasive cancer. The surgeons aimed to minimize visible scarring by using a 2.5-cm axillary incision.

Of the 15 patients, 12 underwent robot-assisted breast-conserving surgery with sentinel lymph node biopsy, 3 had robot-assisted breast-conserving surgery alone, and 2 required axillary lymph node dissection. Of note, none of the surgeries required open conversion.

Despite its success, the study investigators identified some challenges. Two patients experienced skin burns during surgery, leading to scar revision. Additionally, one patient developed postoperative seroma with infection, which was treated promptly. However, the axillary scars became inconspicuous within a few weeks, improving patient satisfaction.

Robot-assisted breast-conserving surgery may prove to be of benefit to patients with breast cancer seeking improved cosmetic outcomes and enhanced self-esteem. Nevertheless, experts call for further research to assess its long-term benefits and risks.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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