The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore the body image and preserve self esteem. Women who have had breast cancer and a mastectomy or lumpectomy are often candidates for breast reconstruction surgery. The breast reconstruction journey can be started at the same day as the mastectomy; however, this depends on the patient and her individual health condition. Dr. Novia will consult with you and your health care team to develop an approach that meets your needs and current health condition.
Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
Reconstruction with Mastectomy
When a reconstruction takes place with a mastectomy, the removed breast is replaced with a breast mound. Additional procedures are normally required and may follow on an outpatient basis.
Tissue Expansion & Breast Implant
Tissue expansion requires use of a skin expander, or balloon, that is filled with saline on a weekly basis to stretch the skin to accommodate a breast implant. Once the skin has expanded, a breast implant is surgically inserted to give the reconstructed breast volume and shape. The skin expander and breast implant is the most direct reconstructive surgery with the least amount of recovery time.
Latissimus Flap Reconstruction
This flap reconstruction method uses the latissimus dorsi muscle located under the arm stretching from the back to the chest. This procedure also uses skin and fat from the back. The muscle and tissue are used to create a new breast mound. In order to create balance, a breast implant may also be used. This is a common approach to breast reconstruction surgery.
TRAM Flap Reconstruction
TRAM is the transverse rectus abdominus muscle, also known as the “six pack”. TRAM flap reconstruction uses the muscles and skin from the abdomen to reconstruct the main body of the breast. In this case, breast implants are not required. This is the most comprehensive of reconstruction surgeries.
Nipple reconstruction is a separate procedure from breast reconstruction. Once your breast reconstruction surgery is complete, you may elect to have a nipple reconstruction for a look that complements your natural breast. You may opt to have the area around the nipple tattooed to improve the color match.
Depending on which procedure(s) you choose, surgery and recovery times will vary. Dr. Novia will discuss all of the options available to you.