Your Options for Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction can be an important part of your breast cancer recovery process. However, it can be overwhelming to think about adding another step. Partnering with a board certified reconstructive surgeon is your best first step, so here’s what to know about your options with Dr. Richardson.
What is breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that aims to restore the normal appearance of the breasts following mastectomy, lumpectomy, or a congenital absence of breasts. Breast reconstruction can begin immediately after a mastectomy or lumpectomy but can also be undertaken years later. Breast reconstruction is often a multistep process.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries
There are two main types of breast reconstruction surgeries. The choice of procedures is usually determined by mastectomy type, post-mastectomy treatments, and your particular body type.
- Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Surgery replaces the missing breast tissue with a saline or silicone gel implant. Your plastic surgeon will position the implant in front of or behind the chest muscle. Implants not held in place by the chest muscle will be fixed with a surgical tissue called dermal matrix. Over time, the body fills the matrix with collagen, securing the implant.Implant reconstructions can often be done at the same time as the mastectomy. In some cases, a tissue expander must first be implanted to create sufficient room for an implant. The tissue expansion process can take several months.Some women choose to have a nipple tattoo placed later on. Others choose to undergo natural nipple reconstruction later. This can usually be performed with a small amount of tissue grafted from elsewhere on the body.
- Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery uses the body’s own tissue to reconstruct the missing breast. Usually, this flap is taken from an area on the back to recreate the feel and look of natural tissue. Part of this work can be undertaken at the same time as the mastectomy. The procedure can also be performed at a later date.Flap reconstruction is usually a two-step surgery. First, a tissue expansion implant is placed. Once the body tissue is adequately prepared, a final reconstruction surgery procedure takes place. Nipple reconstruction will usually take place in a third procedure.
Is breast reconstruction is right for you?
Most patients who’ve undergone breast reconstruction report substantial psychological benefit. While reconstructed breasts won’t look like they did pre-mastectomy, most women report satisfaction with their outcomes. Deciding on the specific type of breast reconstruction that’s right for you is an important step of your recovery process, so it’s important to discuss your options and preferences with your plastic surgeon.
Schedule a Consultation
Breast reconstruction can be an excellent way to feel comfortable in your body again. To learn more and plan your reconstructive procedure, contact our Gulfport office by calling or filling out our online form.