Breast cancer and mastectomy can be devastating to a woman. Breast reconstruction is one of the most rewarding surgeries a plastic surgeon can perform. There are many different breast reconstruction options, ranging from using your own tissue (TRAM flap, Latissimus flap) to breast implant based reconstruction. The algorithm for choosing which approach is best is rather complex. For this reason, I tend to spend a great deal of time with women discussing their options, usually on more than one visit.
Some Important Take Home Breast Reconstruction Principles
The best type of breast reconstruction for a woman depends on many factors, including:
- Type of breast surgery performed to remove the cancer
- Body habitus of the woman
- Smoker? If so, options are more limited
- One breast or two breasts need to be reconstructed?
- Is radiation planned?
- Desires and expectations
Tissue expansion for breast reconstruction can provide perky breasts. Nipple creation can be performed at a later date, followed by areolar tattooing.
Tissue expansion breast reconstruction remains the most popular method for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. Very beautiful and natural looking breasts can be achieved through this staged approach. To understand implant based breast reconstruction, the following steps are listed below for clarity of the process:
1. Mastectomy (excision of breast tissue)
2. Placement of tissue expander with ADM (acellular dermal matrix) either at time of mastectomy or weeks after mastectomy
3. Serial expansions in the office starting 3 weeks after surgery and lasting up to 2 months
4. 3-month wait period
5. Removal of expander and placement of breast implant in operating room
6. Nipple reconstruction 3 months after (5)
7. Medical tattooing of nipple and areola
8. Possible fat transfer to breasts to camouflage potential rippling of implant
9. Contralateral breast lift or augmentation if necessary to improve symmetry
Of note, this sequence may be altered if chemotherapy or radiation therapy is introduced along the course.
If you are a candidate for breast reconstruction, Dr. Neavin will take all the time necessary to ensure the best possible results from the process. To schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Neavin today, contact Artisan of Beauty at 310‑858‑8811 text 323‑975‑1287.