Breast Reconstruction

breast reconstuction

Many mastectomy patients opt to undergo breast reconstruction to restore the shape of the breast. Women who undergo breast reconstruction usually feel better, and are more easily able to move on with their lives after undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer. Women look better because their clothes fit better, and getting dressed every day need not be a reminder of their previous cancer.

Before choosing any type of breast reconstruction, it is crucial to be informed about all the available surgical options. Experts in breast cancer surgeries, the doctors at La Peer Health Systems’ Breast Surgery Center of Excellence are available to answer any questions you may have. We specialize in curing breast cancer while maintaining a woman’s appearance and self-esteem. If you or a loved one is undergoing a mastectomy, please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of our renowned board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons at (888) 316-4167.

There are many breast reconstruction options for women desiring reconstructive breast surgery.

Traditional Breast Reconstruction with Tissue Expander

Breast reconstruction usually begins at the time of the mastectomy. After the oncologist removes the breast tissue, your plastic surgeon will place a tissue expander (that works like a balloon) under the pectoral muscle. Over the next few months, you will return to your doctor’s office weekly so he or she can inject saline into a valve within the expander. Once the skin has stretched sufficiently, your plastic surgeon will perform a second surgery to remove the tissue expander and place a permanent breast implant.

Breast Reconstruction with Your Own Fat (DIEP flap Reconstruction)

Traditional breast reconstruction usually begins at the time of the mastectomy. After the removal of breast tissue, our microsurgeon will remove excess fat on your abdomen with a single blood vessel, taking away excess tissue you may have from previous pregnancies or weight gain. This tissue is your own natural fat, which allows for an ideal match to your normal breast.  We require close monitoring of your surgery by our specially trained nursing staff after the procedure.

One-Stage Reconstruction: Direct to Implant

Whereas traditional breast reconstruction with a tissue expander requires a second surgery to place the implants, one-stage breast reconstruction is performed during the initial mastectomy procedure and eliminates the need for painful tissue expanders. Additionally, undergoing fewer surgeries minimizes both patient risk and cost. Women who opt for one-stage reconstruction wake up from their mastectomy with beautiful, natural-looking new breasts. This procedure is performed with nipple sparing and skin sparing techniques, as expansion of the skin is not necessary if it is not removed by the oncologic surgeon. Unlike the visible scarring which occurs with the traditional procedure, our patients usually have a short scar under the breast, where it is not visible, and have very natural results while removing all breast tissue.

The Breast Surgery Center of Excellence has pioneered the one-stage breast reconstruction procedure and is one of the few surgeons in the world specializing in this innovative surgery. Together, with surgical oncologists, they perform single-stage mastectomy and reconstruction.

Not every mastectomy patient is a candidate for one-stage reconstruction. Women who require radiation after a mastectomy may want to wait to undergo reconstruction, as radiation after reconstruction can cause issues.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: When can I undergo breast reconstruction after cancer?

A: Mastectomy patients have different options when it comes to a timeline for breast reconstruction. Years ago, most women had the mastectomy first and underwent the reconstruction later. Now we have found that we get the best results by sparing as much skin as possible, and placing some form of reconstruction for the breast in place at the time of mastectomy. For women that have no skin involved in the breast cancer, the best results are with one stage breast reconstruction. If you have skin affected, you may need some skin removed, in which case a tissue expander will need to be placed.

Q: Does having breast reconstruction affect my cancer risk in the future?

A: Research shows that undergoing breast reconstruction does not raise a woman’s risk of cancer recurrence or affect doctors’ ability to detect cancer.

Q: What are the downsides of traditional reconstruction?

A: Traditional reconstruction requires mastectomy patients to suffer with painful tissue expanders for months before undergoing a second surgery for breast reconstruction, and involves longer scars and a less natural appearing breast. The one-stage breast reconstruction eliminates many of the risks and discomfort associated with traditional breast reconstruction after cancer and after prophylactic mastectomy.

Q: Does one-stage reconstruction offer more risks than traditional breast reconstruction surgery?

A: No! The risks of one-stage reconstruction are the same or better than those of traditional tissue expander procedures.

Contact the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence

The breast surgeons at the Breast Surgery Center of Excellence are committed to helping women regain health and self-confidence after mastectomy. Call our multi-million dollar surgical center in Beverly Hills at (888) 316-4167 and schedule an appointment to discuss your options.

Next, read about breast reconstruction revision.

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