Considering the breasts symbolize femininity, losing one or both breasts due to undergoing a mastectomy can be a traumatic experience. Fortunately, modern techniques in breast reconstruction can restore a breast to normal shape, appearance, and size following a mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction is typically performed using a patient’s own tissue or with an implant. The approach used is individualized to a patient’s particular clinical situation, anatomy, and goals.
At Plastic Surgery Associates, we offer the full range of reconstructive options:
- DIEP flaps: This refers to use of a patient’s abdominal tissue that is moved up to the breast area and revascularized with the use of microsurgery. This type of reconstruction can offer a woman a natural, permanent breast replacement and has the added benefit of removing extra abdominal skin if present.
- Implants: Breasts can be reconstructed with silicone or saline implants. This typically requires the initial use of a tissue expander to create a pocket for the implant and subsequent placement of an implant. This type of reconstruction avoids some of the risks of DIEP flaps and, using current techniques and implants, can result in a natural appearing and feeling breast.
- Latissimus dorsi flap: This reconstructive technique utilizes skin and muscle from the back and typically also requires a small implant. It is a useful approach – particularly in women who are not candidates for the other two procedures.
Breast reconstruction is typically performed at the same time as mastectomy, but can also be delayed. Some women choose or need to have both breasts removed. Other clinical factors, such as the need for radiation treatments or chemotherapy, vary from patient to patient. If only one breast is affected, the other side can be treated with augmentation, lift, or reduction to optimize symmetry. The choices can be complex and at Plastic Surgery Associates we will spend all the time necessary to guide you through the decision process as it applies to your particular circumstances.