Center for Breast Health

NCH Healthcare System’s Center for Breast Health has been recognized as a Hidden Scar Center of Excellence for Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery. The NCH Healthcare System is among the first in the area to perform this advanced approach to breast cancer surgery that hides scars, minimizing the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Understanding Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery​

Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery is an advanced approach in which breast surgeons remove cancerous tissue through a single incision made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring. By utilizing this approach, surgeons are able to preserve a natural-looking breast by sparing the nipple, areola and surrounding tissue. The Hidden Scar approach may also ease the emotional impact of breast cancer surgery, in that patients have little to no visible reminder of the surgery, and experience a more natural looking breast reconstruction.

Who is Eligible for Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery?

Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery may be appropriate for a wide range of breast cancer patients undergoing nipple sparing mastectomy or breast conserving (lumpectomy) procedures. Qualification depends on a patient’s tumor size and location, breast shape and size, and your surgeon’s training. Ask your surgeon if you are candidate for one of the below surgical options.

What are My Surgical Options?

With a Hidden Scar procedure, your surgeon will place your incision in a location that is hard to see, so that the scar is not visible when your incision heals. As a result, you have little to no visible reminder of the surgery or your cancer.

Hidden Scar Nipple Sparing Mastectomy

An advanced surgical approach using an inframammary fold incision that removes the underlying breast tissue while preserving the nipple-areolar complex and breast skin.

1. Inframammary Fold: The natural crease underneath the breast –  In a Hidden Scar nipple sparing mastectomy, all of the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple and skin are not. Since the scar is placed in the inframammary fold, you will not have a visible scar.

Hidden Scar Breast Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy)

An advanced approach that removes the tumor along with a small portion of the surrounding healthy tissue (margin), while preserving the majority of the breast, through a single incision hidden in one of three places.

1. Inframammary Fold: the natural crease underneath the breast
2. Periareolar: along the edges of the areola
3. Axilla: in the armpit, usually hidden in a natural fold

Patient Resources

About Dr. Patterson

Dr. Patterson received her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. After finishing medical school, Dr. Patterson completed her General Surgery residency at the University of South Alabama. From there she went on to complete her Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Patterson serves on national and state level committees and has received numerous awards for her commitment to Breast Health. Her special interests include stereotactic breast biopsy, hidden scar breast cancer surgery and survivorship.

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Patient Testimonials​

Crystal Horrell - "I just want to be here for my kids"
Holly DiGilarmo - "I feel like I can live again, I have a second chance"