Patients who have undergone a mastectomy, double mastectomy, or radiation therapy after breast cancer, or who suffer from a genetic condition impacting the appearance of their breasts, often elect to undergo breast reconstruction surgery as a means to surgically recreate authentic-looking breasts. While choosing to undergo a mastectomy can be a traumatic experience, many women find comfort in the fact that exceptional surgical options exist to restore the natural appearance of their breasts. Many patients have communicated that having reconstructive breast surgery provided them with a sense of closure after the difficult experience of recovering from an illness such as breast cancer, and that their surgery helped them to see themselves as they were prior to their illness.
Breast reconstruction requires a very high level of surgical skill and precision, and should be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in the field of reconstructive breast surgery. Dr. Melanie is a well-respected, board-certified plastic surgeon with specialized training in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She defines success of breast cancer reconstruction by one simple standard: the appearance of the breasts to a natural shape, with minimal scarring.
Breast Reconstruction Procedures and Recovery
Breast reconstruction procedures and recovery times vary significantly, and are dependent upon the exact nature and details of each patient’s unique circumstances. The reconstruction may be performed at the same time as the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction), or months after the mastectomy (delayed reconstruction).
Whether you are interested in utilizing an implant (prosthetic breast reconstruction), your own body tissue (autologous breast reconstruction) or a combination of both techniques, Dr. Prince will discuss all options with you. A customized plan will be designed with you, based on your body type, desires and expectations. The most common type of breast reconstructive options include:
Tissue Expander to Implant Reconstruction
In this technique, a tissue expander is inserted underneath the chest wall muscles to create space on the inside of the breast. Oftentimes, a separate tissue prosthetic or sling may be required to support the implant from below. After the skin and muscle are expanded, the final implant can be placed. Reconstructive implants are made of silicone gel and can be round, oval or shaped (i.e. “Gummy-Bear” Implants).
Latissimus Dorsi/Expander Reconstruction
This technique involves repositioning one of the back muscles to the front of the chest, to reshape the front of the breast to a natural shape. Utilizing the latissimus dorsi muscle can help reduce the tendency for implant rippling and can allow the surgeon to create a smaller scar on the breast. In addition, this technique can be utilized to help save part of the nipple after mastectomy. This technique can also be employed to counter the effects if breast radiation is required.
Contact Dr. Prince
During your initial consultation, Dr. Prince will evaluate your anatomy, overall health, clinical situation, and personal preferences, in order to determine if primary or revision breast reconstruction surgery is an appropriate option for you at this time. If necessary, she will collaborate with your oncology team, and will select the best surgical options to ensure a safe and successful surgical outcome.