Losing a breast due to mastectomy after cancer treatment can be an extremely emotional and life-changing event, and women are often left feeling self-conscious about their appearance. Breast reconstruction surgery is intended to enhance your confidence and self-image after breast cancer.
Many studies have shown the physical and emotional benefits of having breast reconstruction to recreate the breast mound and nipple areolar complex. Dr. Jason D. Johnson has the advanced skills and aesthetic ability needed to create natural looking breasts that can help restore a sense of wholeness.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
Reconstruction after Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction techniques have advanced greatly over the past few years. In addition, techniques have significantly evolved to help produce as natural a result as possible. For women who have certain anatomic and tumor characteristics, nipple-sparing mastectomy may be an option.
While traditional mastectomy techniques have required that the nipple and areola be removed along with the underlying breast tissue, nipple-sparing mastectomy preserves this anatomically sensitive structure! Reconstruction following this method relies heavily on the use of tissue expanders and implants, and results are extremely natural.
Reconstruction with Implants
Breast reconstruction with breast implants is the least invasive method of reconstructing the breast. During your initial consultation with Dr. Johnson, he will help determine the correct size, shape, and position of the implants to help you ultimately achieve a balanced and natural look.
A mastectomy removes a variable amount of breast skin along with the nipple and breast tissue itself. The amount of breast skin removed depends, in part, on the size of the tumor and location of the biopsy scar. Mastectomy also impairs the skin’s circulation, which sometimes compromises its ability to heal well. It is therefore not possible to perform breast reconstruction with a full-size implant at the time of mastectomy. Instead, the skin must be stretched gradually after it is healed and its circulation has recovered.
This process, called tissue expansion, is accomplished using a tissue expander. The expander, which is similar to a saline implant but slightly different in shape, is a deflated plastic bag that can be gradually filled with fluid. This technique creates a breast mound by initially placing a saline filled tissue expander under the skin and pectoralis muscle (the broad chest muscle under the breast) of the chest wall. Over time, the expander is filled with more and more saline, until the desired size is reached.
Breast reconstruction with implants requires less extensive surgery than tissue reconstruction, but it usually requires more steps to achieve the final result.
A flap reconstruction may be the best option for patients who wish to have breast reconstruction without implants. This method creates a breast mound with tissue “borrowed” from another part of your body. Breast reconstruction with a flap of your own tissues is an excellent option for women who wish to avoid the use of foreign materials.
A number of “donor” sites are available for breast reconstruction. Tissue can be taken from the abdomen (TRAM flap breast reconstruction), or from the upper back (latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction), in order to reconstruct the breast. Because the back muscle is close to the chest area, the muscle and skin flap can often remain attached to its own blood supply, resulting in a quicker recovery than when tissue is taken from other areas and must be removed from its blood supply.
Dr. Johnson and you will work together to customize your breast restoration for natural results.
Both flap breast reconstruction methods may also be combined with breast implants to achieve the desired shape and appropriate size match. To determine which method would be best for you, contact PHX Plastic Surgery to schedule a breast reconstruction consultation today.