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Mastectomies Performed Outside Hospitals Spark Controversy

Some plastic surgeons are making headlines for allowing breast cancer patients to forego hospital stays by having their mastectomies and lumpectomies performed as in-office procedures.

Due to privacy concerns, pop star Anastacia recently had a lumpectomy and breast reduction surgery performed in a Manhattan plastic surgery office.

Once word got out about the success of her procedures, more and more plastic surgeons are quietly adding breast cancer surgeries followed by immediate breast reconstruction to their menu of services.

Dr. Andrew Kornstein, the surgeon who facilitated Anastacia’s in-office lumpectomy and performed her breast reduction, said that his office sees about one breast cancer surgery patient per month.

Dr. Kornstein also noted that most of the breast cancer surgeries performed in his office are done after patients have come for cosmetic surgery consultation and found that they have breast cancer.

Although it is legal to perform breast cancer surgery procedures such as mastectomies outside hospitals in accredited surgical centers, many plastic surgeons feel that doing so may be unsafe for patients.

Other critics of in-office mastectomies suggest that some plastic surgeons are encouraging the trend to move breast cancer surgery out of hospitals to line their pockets.

“When you look at the economics, you know that if a plastic surgeon owns his own operating room, it’s [financially] better for him to do the surgery there,” said Dr. Evan Garfein of Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Garfein added, “You have to ask, ‘Why is this being done?’ If there’s a trend like this, it should be because patients are demanding it. Plastic surgeons shouldn’t be driving a trend to get patients out of hospitals.”

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