Breast Augmentation - Breast Lift
Breast Reconstruction - Breast Reduction
This procedure is done to restore a woman's breast shape after a mastectomy that resulted in either partial or total loss of the breast(s).
Breast Reconstruction Defined
Reconstructive surgery is usually performed on an inpatient basis in an operating room. General anesthesia is used. Depending on the situation, this may require an overnight stay in the hospital but many are on an outpatient basis.
The type of reconstruction procedure available to you depends on your medical situation, breast size and shape, general health, lifestyle and goals.
Breast reconstruction can be accomplished by the use of a prostheses (implant), your own tissues (a tissue flap), or a combination of the two. A tissue flap is a section of skin, fat and/or muscle, which is, moved from you stomach, back or other area of your body, to the chest area and shaped into a new breast. Breast reconstruction with a muscle flap has several types. A TRAM flap borrows muscle, skin, and fat from the lower abdomen and recreates a breast mound from your own tissue. It generally does not require a breast implant. TRAM flaps can be used to reconstruct one or both breasts. A latissimus flap uses a muscle from the back to reconstruct a breast mound, and often times is combined with an implant to give enough volume to the breast.
Breast reconstruction can also be accomplished using implants. Our preference is to use saline filled implants although silicone implants are sometimes available for women with breast cancer. Often times an implant is placed at the time of the cancer surgery. In other instances, there may not be enough loose skin so that a full sized implant can be placed. In this instance an expandable implant called a tissue expander is placed. The breast skin is then allowed to be stretched or expanded-usually with minimal discomfort by adding fluid to the implant during your office visit.
Whether or not you have reconstruction with or without breast implants, you may undergo additional surgeries to improve symmetry and appearance. For example, because the nipple is removed with the breast tissue in mastectomy, the nipple is often reconstructed from a skin graft. There are many times when the remaining breast is contoured to match the reconstructed breast.
Scars and sensitivity are always a concern with breast reconstruction. We attempt to minimize any scars by using the pre-existing scars from the mastectomy procedure. The sensitivity of the breast is diminished by the cancer operation. Overall our goal is to provide a reconstruction that allows you to pursue whatever cancer treatments you require, allow you to wear any clothes you desire without hesitation, and ultimately, feel whole again.
As surgeons and nurses, we have dealt with all types of cancer. More importantly, women in our own families have had breast cancer and have experienced all types of reconstruction. It is very difficult and sometimes confusing time. We understand the sensitivities involved and wish to support you in every way.
The breast reconstruction process may begin at the time of your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or weeks to years afterwards (delayed reconstruction). Immediate reconstruction may involve placement of a breast implant, or tissue expander or tram flap. It is important to know that any type of surgical breast reconstruction may take several steps to complete and that these procedures will not interfere with your ongoing cancer treatment.
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