The Hidden Scar Technique is Eliminating Ugly Breast Cancer Surgical Scars

Oct 1, 2018

For so many women diagnosed with breast cancer, surgery is a double-edged sword. No one truly looks forward to having to undergo surgery. Yet a mastectomy or lumpectomy—and the surgeons who perform the life-saving procedures—empower women to remove cancer from their bodies. What isn’t always so empowering is having to face the ugly battle scars that are left behind.

Until recently, long horizontal or vertical scars—depending on the location of the cancer tumor—were deemed an inevitable, post-surgery reality. While many women view their scars as a symbol that says “I beat cancer,” many do not. Studies show that breast surgery scars significantly impact a woman’s psychological and emotional recovery. They can affect her self-confidence, body image and intimacy with her partner. According to breastcancersurgery.com:

  • 87 percent of women report that they are self-conscious due to the scars from their breast cancer surgery.
  • 82 percent of women have not worn a certain piece of clothing because it reveals her breast cancer surgery scars.
  • 76 percent did not realize how uncomfortable her breast cancer surgery scars would maker her feel when someone else sees her undressed.
  • 72 percent are unhappy with the location of their scar.

A new surgical technique that is changing everything.
The Hidden Scar™ technique is helping women move on with their lives without a daily, visible reminder of their cancer. Kory Jones, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon at the USMD Arlington South General Surgery Clinic is certified in the new surgical technique.

“I perform the Hidden scar technique during surgery in order to deliver the best cosmetic outcome that I can,” Dr. Jones says. “I make incisions in places where they will heal really well and can barely be seen.”

Unlike the long horizontal scars left by incisions typically made during a mastectomy or the long vertical scars that are a telltale sign of a lumpectomy, the Hidden Scar technique makes incisions in one of three areas of the breast.

“Typically, incisions are made around the areola so any scar blends in really nicely with the skin around the areola; underneath the breast in what we call the inframammary fold; and close to the armpit,” Dr. Jones explains. “These can be done when we are doing lumpectomies and nipple-sparing mastectomies.

The location of the patient’s breast cancer determines which type of incision is used during surgery. Dr. Jones talks with her patients before their surgery to discuss the anticipated surgical approach and type of hidden scar incision.
“Sometimes I won’t know for sure until I get to the operating room and see exactly where the cancer is located,” Dr. Jones says. “It also depends on the shape and size of the patient’s breast. All of that comes into play when deciding which one of these incisions is the best one to use.”

There is a specialized certification process.
“To become certified in the Hidden Scar technique, surgeons have to go through training to learn how to use special instruments, tools and techniques in order to best perform the hidden-scar type incision,” says Dr. Jones.

Specialized retractors outfitted with lights help surgeons better see their incisions and hone in on cancer tumors, while a photo blade uses energy to seal blood vessels as tissue is being dissected.

“Once we’ve completed our training, we must perform a required number of surgeries to demonstrate proficiency using the hidden-scar tools and techniques in order to be formally awarded certification.”

Post-surgery confidence is a beautiful thing.
The Hidden Scar technique is making a real difference in the lives of so many women. “Women aren’t left disfigured with a large scar over their breast,” Dr. Jones adds. “They don’t have to worry about a scar showing if they want to wear a low-cut blouse or bathing suit. Rather than feel self-conscious about their surgical scars, they can move forward in life without the daily visual reminders of their battle with cancer.”

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and would you like to know more about the Hidden Scar surgical technique, Dr. Kory Jones is here to help. To make an appointment with her call  (817) 275-3309.