Section: News

Local Breast Surgeon Becomes First in Napa to Perform Hidden ScarTM Breast Surgeries at Queen of the Valley Medical Center


(Napa, Calif. – September 26, 2017) St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center announced that Elizabeth Cunningham, MD, F.A.C.S. a board-certified general surgeon and fellowship-trained surgical oncologist who specializes in breast surgery at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, has been recognized as a Hidden Scar Trained Surgeon for Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery. Elizabeth Cunningham, MD, is one of only two surgeons trained and certified to perform Hidden Scar lumpectomies or nipple sparring mastectomies in the North Bay, and the only surgeon to perform these surgeries in Napa.

This advanced approach to breast cancer surgery hides scars, minimizing the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis and optimizing cosmetic results1. For Hidden Scar mastectomies, the breast surgeon makes an incision in a discreet location in the natural tissue beneath the breast (the inframammary fold). For lumpectomies, the surgeon may opt to make the incision in the inframammary fold, under the armpit, or by tracing the nipple. This technique is an alternative to removing the tumor from the skin above its location, which leaves a more noticeable scar on the breast.

“After a traditional lumpectomy or mastectomy, some women may experience a dimple in the breast. The Hidden Scar approach allows me to remove the tumor from a discreet location on, or around the breast, so I can preserve the breast tissue and natural contours of the breast,” said Dr. Cunningham.

Performing Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery requires consistent illumination throughout the surgical cavity. Queen of the Valley Medical Center, a Hidden Scar Center, recently purchased a new, minimally-invasive technology, the Eikon™ LT Illuminated Retractor System, which enhances the illumination of the surgical area during Hidden Scar breast surgeries.

“This minimally-invasive procedure is making a huge difference in the lives of our patients, especially women diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Amy Herold, MD, OB/GYN, Chief Medical Officer of Queen of the Valley. “We are thrilled to provide this surgical technology that ensures our surgeons can provide best results possible for our patients.”

According to Dr. Cunningham, oncoplastic surgery is combining the latest plastic surgery techniques with breast surgical oncology, “These retractors enable me to perform more advanced oncoplastic procedures and make it easier to reshape the breast.”

More than 50 women had breast disease in Napa County in 2016. Each year, approximately 405,0002,3 women are diagnosed with breast cancer that requires surgery, with many unaware of all the surgical options available, including this minimally invasive approach that can help restore a woman’s self-image and allow them to begin the emotional healing process. Patients who have Hidden Scar breast surgery experience optimal clinical and cosmetic outcomes, and are at no higher risk of recurrence than patients who undergo any other surgical technique.4

For more information about Queen of the Valley’s Breast Program, visit For more information on Hidden Scar, visit

About Queen of the Valley Medical Center
Queen of the Valley Medical Center is a 208-bed, acute-care facility founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. The Queen is the largest health care facility and one of the largest employers in Napa County. Services provided include a Regional Heart Center, a Regional Orthopedic Center, a Regional Cancer Center approved with commendations by the American College of Surgeons, the Peggy Herman Neuroscience Center, maternity and infant care, inpatient and outpatient minimally invasive surgery, and full-service emergency department, among many other specialty services. More information about Queen of the Valley Medical Center can be found at

About Invuity, Inc. (Nasdaq: IVTY):
Invuity, Inc. is a medical technology company focused on developing and marketing advanced photonics devices to improve the ability of surgeons to illuminate and visualize the surgical cavity during open minimally invasive and minimal access surgery. The company's patented Intelligent Photonics™ technology enables enhanced surgical precision, efficiency and safety by providing superior visualization. Clinical applications include breast and thyroid oncology, plastic reconstructive, spine, orthopedic, cardiothoracic and general surgery among others. Invuity is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit

  1. LIT 11195 Nipple Sparing Mastectomy and the Advent of an Enabling Surgical Illumination and Visualization System. Clinical Experience Survey of Thought Leaders in Breast Surgery.
  2. 2014 US Census Estimate.
  3. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2011-2012
  4. Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy for Breast Cancer and Risk Reduction: Oncologic or Technical Problem? Sacchini, V., et. al., American College of Surgeons. 2006. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2006.07.015

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