Breast Reconstruction Options
by Francisco G. Colón, M.D., F.A.C.S.
About one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, and many of those affected will undergo a mastectomy or other surgical procedure that will significantly alter the appearance of their breasts. Fortunately, with advanced plastic reconstructive surgery techniques and new approaches and procedures, women have more and better options than they had even just a decade ago.
Today breast surgeons and plastic surgeons work as a team. Women contemplating a mastectomy should consult with an experienced plastic surgeon to learn about all the options. Most patients are candidates for immediate reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. In certain cases, the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon may elect to delay breast reconstruction.
One of the most common types of breast reconstruction performed in the U.S. involves the use of breast implants. Immediate staged breast reconstruction is performed at the time of the mastectomy and involves placing a temporary breast expander which is removed at a second stage months later. The expander helps to keep the breast skin stretched and supple. At the time of the second procedure , the expander is replaced with a more natural silicone or saline breast implant. Some patients may be candidates for a single stage implant reconstruction, but this can only be determined by an experienced plastic surgeon. Recent technological advances in the quality of breast implants has helped improve the outcomes of implant reconstruction. The use of dermal allografts (Alloderm, Allomax…) has also helped surgeons achieve more natural results.
Some patients may be candidates for flap reconstruction, that is the transplantation of your own tissues to the chest to help create a new breast. The lower abdomen is the tissue that is most often used. This lower belly fat can be transferred as a TRAM or DIEP flap. The TRAM flap requires the use of one or two abdominal muscles to help with the transfer of this tissue and is still widely used around the country. The DIEP flap is a more recent microsurgical procedure which allows surgeons to transfer the lower belly fat without disrupting the abdominal wall musculature. Other body parts used for breast reconstruction include the latissimus (back tissue) and gluteus muscles.
The experienced plastic surgeons at The Peer Group offer DIEP reconstruction in addition to other flaps and staged reconstruction. The final stage of breast reconstruction is the creation of a nipple and coloration of the areola which completes the creation of a natural looking breast.
Thanks to Federal Law passed in 1998, all insurance providers must cover breast reconstruction procedures. This law requires insurance companies to cover the costs of all stages of breast surgery for women who have undergone a mastectomy.
All of the reconstructive plastic surgeons at The Peer Group are eager to spread the word about these procedures in anticipation of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day – BRA Day – this October 17th. The mission of BRA Day is to make sure breast cancer patients are informed about cosmetic plastic surgery options. We understand how important it is to women to preserve as much of the natural look and feel of their breasts as possible, and it’s important to everyone on our staff, as well.
From September 21st through November 16th 2012, The Peer Group will donate $1.00 to the American Cancer Society for every new Facebook “like” so please, recommend us to your friends and join us in the fight against breast cancer. Like us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ThePeerGroup
This entry was posted on Monday, October 15th, 2012 at 2:27 pm and is filed under Breast Reconstruction, Cosmetic procedures, Mastectomy, plastic surgery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.