• Surgical Oncology

    Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    The Division of Surgical Oncology provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management for adult patients in outpatient and inpatient settings. Our board certified surgical oncologists also have expertise in biological cancer, immunotherapy, and gene therapy for a variety of malignancies.

    About the Division

    The Division of Surgical Oncology at Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center provides comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for adult patients in outpatient and inpatient settings.

    Our board certified surgical oncologists perform 3,000 inpatient procedures per year and see patients for an additional 4,000 outpatient visits in the gastrointestinal cancer, sarcoma, and breast cancer treatment programs.

    Our services

    For a patient with cancer, the goal of surgery is to remove the tumor, when appropriate. When the tumor cannot be removed completely, surgery can ease pain or remove obstructions that the tumor causes.

    For some patients, surgery is the only form of treatment. For others, we may recommend surgery in combination with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

    We specialize in surgical procedures for patients with the following diseases:

    • Benign and malignant disorders of the breast
    • Gastrointestinal tumors, including colon, rectal, biliary, liver, and pancreatic cancer
    • Sarcomas
    • Melanomas and other skin lesions
     

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

    The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center is a recognized leader in plastic and reconstructive surgery for cancer patients.

    Our team includes plastic surgeons and other health care experts, and we work closely with each patient to address their individual needs.

    Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons are experts in a wide range of procedures in the field of plastic surgery. All our surgeons are faculty members of Harvard Medical School, and are board certified by the American Boards of Surgery and Plastic Surgery and General Surgery.

    Consultation

    When you come for your initial consultation, our surgeons will review treatment options with you in cooperation with your referring physician.

    During the initial visit, our surgeons will talk to you about:

    • The impact of any underlying medical problems you may have and how this might affect planning for surgery
    • Risks of surgery and the best way to avoid them
    • Your recovery in detail, including restrictions on certain activities, when you can return to work, and what preparations you should make for surgery

    Before you come to visit us, it's a good idea to write down your questions. Many patients forget what they wanted to ask the doctor and having a list may help.

    Read more suggestions to help you prepare for your visit

    Learn more about the Division of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    Our services

    We specialize in the following plastic and reconstructive procedures:

    Breast cancer

    The ultimate goal of breast reconstruction is to recreate breast symmetry.

    • Implant with tissue expander: An expander is inserted at the time of mastectomy in most cases, and the expansion process begins after incisions have healed and will continue over the next several weeks. Saline is injected into the expander to enlarge it sufficiently to accommodate the implant. The replacement of the expander with the implant takes place in approximately three months, or when the expansion process is completed. This is done as a day surgical procedure.
    • TRAM (transverse rectus abdominus muscle) flap: This flap is taken from the abdomen and consists of skin, fat, and a small piece of muscle tissue, which is tunneled between the skin and ribs to the breast area. This technique allows the flap to maintain a constant blood supply from its site of origin. The tissue is then trimmed and sutured into place to create a new breast mound.
    • DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforators) flap: DIEP flap surgery is a cutting-edge breast reconstruction procedure that, like the TRAM procedure, uses donor tissue from a woman's lower abdomen. However, it differs from the TRAM procedure in that it (1) severs the donor tissue blood vessels and reattaches them to the chest blood vessels, and (2) does not damage the abdominal muscle when harvesting the donor tissue. This delicate procedure provides a slimmer appearance, a natural-looking breast, maintained core strength, and a quick recovery. Learn more about the benefits of DIEP flap surgery.
    •  Latissimus dorsi flap: This flap is taken from the back and consists of skin, fat, and a small piece of muscle. The flap will be tunneled over the ribs to the operative site and trimmed and sutured into place to form a new breast. Very often, a small implant will be required to assist in matching the opposite breast.
    • Free flaps: A free flap is a piece of tissue that is completely removed from its donor site, along with an artery and a vein, and will be connected to an artery and vein at the recipient breast site. Sources of free flaps are the abdomen, gluteal (buttock), and latissimus dorsi muscle. This surgery is more complicated, requiring microsurgery and a stay in the Intensive Care Unit for monitoring for 24 to 48 hours.
    • In cases where symmetry is not easily attained, the opposite breast may require a breast reduction or a breast lift.
    • Approximately three months after reconstruction, once the breast has healed, nipple/areola reconstruction will be performed as a day surgery procedure.
    • Tattooing of the nipple/areola complex will take place a few weeks later in the doctor's office.

    Skin cancer

    Depending on the severity and location of the cancer, skin cancer reconstruction options will vary depending on the size can range from simple closure to flaps.

    • Excise and closure
    • Excise with skin graft: A skin graft is a thin piece of skin taken from one area and placed on a prepared recipient site.
    • Local flap: If the affected area is larger, excision is often followed by local tissue rearrangement. This is tissue that is moved from an area adjacent to the wound.
    • Free flap: A free flap is a piece of skin, fat and muscle that is completely removed from a donor site with an artery and a vein and transferred to the recipient site, where the artery and vein are connected to vessels in that area. The flap is trimmed and sutured into place.

    Sarcoma

    The reconstruction options for sarcoma depend on the severity, size and location of the cancer.

    • Simple closure: After excision, the area is sutured closed.
    • Skin graft: A thin layer of skin is taken from one area and placed on a prepared recipient site.
    • Local flap: This technique involves using tissue that is adjacent to the wound.
    • Pedicle flap: A pedicle flap is tissue that is moved on a vascular pedicle (an artery and a vein that will be connected to an artery and a vein at the recipient site) and is sutured into place at the recipient site.
    • Free flap: A free flap is a piece of tissue that is completely removed from its donor site with an artery and a vein and will be connected to an artery and a vein at the recipient site. Free flaps are more complicated because they require microsurgery.

    Head and neck cancer

    Plastic surgery options for head and neck cancer will vary depending on the location and size of the tumor.

    • Primary closure with skin graft: A skin graft is a thin layer of skin that is taken from one area and placed on a prepared recipient site.
    • Local flap: This technique involves using tissue that is adjacent to the wound.
    • Pedicle flap: A pedicle flap is tissue that is moved on a vascular pedicle (an artery and a vein which will be connected to an artery and a vein at the recipient site), and is sutured into place at the recipient site.
    • Free Flap: A free flap is a piece of tissue that is completely removed from its donor site with an artery and a vein and will be connected to an artery and a vein at the recipient site. Free flaps are more complicated because they require microsurgery.

    Pelvic cancer

    Plastic surgery options for pelvic cancer range from primary closure in conjunction with a local flap, regional flap, or a free flap.

    • Local flap: This technique involves using tissue that is adjacent to the wound.
    • Free flap: A piece of tissue is completely removed from its donor site with an artery and a vein and is connected to an artery and a vein at the recipient site. Free flaps require microsurgery.
     

    Contact Us

    Surgical Oncology

    New patients

    If you have never been seen before at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, please call 877-442-3324 or use this online form to make an appointment.

    Division of Surgical Oncology
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    75 Francis Street
    Boston, MA 02115

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

    To contact us, please call 1-800-789-8157 or 617-732-5282. 

     
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  • Make an Appointment

    • For adults:
      877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI)
    • For children:
      888-733-4662 (888-PEDI-ONC)
    • Or complete the online form.