If you’ve had a mastectomy, you may be weighing your breast reconstruction options. Breast reconstruction refers to surgically rebuilding the breast to restore a natural appearance, an essential element to many women for optimal self-confidence, sexuality, and overall well-being. There are several factors to consider as well as different types of breast reconstruction options. Here are some items to discuss with your doctor when choosing the best option for you.
How to Choose Which Type of Breast Reconstruction is Right For You
Once you’ve decided to have breast reconstruction, there are still many items to discuss and several additional choices to make. Some factors you and your doctor will need to consider include:
Your general health (including issues that could affect your healing, such as certain medical conditions or tobacco use)
- The location and size of your cancer
- Breast size
- The type and extent of your breast cancer surgery
- How much tissue is available for reconstruction (for example, a woman who is very thin may not have enough extra mass on her abdomen to use for breast reconstruction)
- Whether reconstruction involves one or both breasts
- Whether chemotherapy or radiation will be part of your treatment plan
- Your health insurance coverage
- Whether you are willing to undergo more than one surgery
Your surgeon will review your medical history and explain which reconstruction procedures are your best options based on your health, body type, age, goals, lifestyle, and other factors. Talk openly with your surgeon about your expectations and preferences. Make sure to voice your concerns and priorities and fully understand the benefits, risks, and limitations of each option.
Breast Reconstruction Options
There are two main ways to reconstruct the shape of your breast(s): using breast implants or using body tissue. Sometimes, a combination of both techniques may be used to rebuild your breasts.
More common between the two, are breast implants. Patients can choose from either saline, an implant filled with sterile salt water, or silicone which contains a gel giving patients a more natural feel.
Implant-based reconstruction may involve direct to implant single stage surgery or may include tissue expanders (temporary placeholders) which help shape and stretch the skin to achieve desired size and position for implant placement.
To achieve the most natural feel, you may want to consider an advanced technique called a DIEP flap. A Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery flap consists of fat, skin, and blood vessels removed from a patient’s lower belly and moved to your chest to rebuild your breast. For women who don’t have enough belly tissue for DIEP reconstruction, an option called a Profunda artery flap, or PAP flap may be better suited.
In addition to reconstructing the shape of the breast, nipple reconstruction along with areola tattooing provides a full, natural appearing finishing touch to recreate a beautiful breast.
With both methods of breast reconstruction, fat grafting – obtaining fat using liposuction of the body – can be transferred to the breasts to further naturally augment and refine the shape of the breasts.
We know the decision to go forward with breast reconstruction is a positive life-changing one. Furthermore, we completely understand that is it a personal decision. So, take plenty of time to research options and don’t forget to ask your surgeon plenty of questions. They’ll be expecting it!
Reconstruction Following Partial Mastectomy or Lumpectomy
Most of the time, you won’t need breast reconstruction after a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy. However, some women do experience altered appearance of the breast as a result of these procedures – for example, if a woman has a moderate to a large tumor. In a case like this, you may be a candidate for a particular type of reconstruction called oncoplastic reduction where the breast tissue is rearranged to improve the appearance on both the affected side and the unaffected side.
Breast reconstruction is an excellent option for many women. Dr. Rednam offers a range of breast reconstruction options, including other procedures such as tubular breast correction, MTF breast augmentation, and FTM top surgery reconstruction. She places a strong emphasis on informing and involving each patient in their care and providing top-notch service every time.
To find out if breast reconstruction is right for you, please call Dr. Rukmini Rednam today at 713-791-0700.