Breast Reconstruction: The Options
Breast reconstruction is certainly no one-size-fits-all procedure. Women seeking breast reconstruction should understand their options, as well as how each applies to them specifically. After a thorough examination, and possibly a consultation with the oncologist, Dr. Chasan will make his recommendation. In general, some options for breast reconstruction include, but are not limited to the following:
This option may be done with either implants or a flap. Immediate reconstruction means the breast reconstruction occurs during the same operation as the mastectomy or lumpectomy. The obvious advantage of this method is the patient can awaken from surgery with her breasts intact, without experiencing any time with one or no breasts.
In this case, a “flap” is a grouping of tissue taken from the patient’s own body, used to reconstruct the breast mound. This tissue can be taken from several parts of the body, including the abdomen or back. This tissue flap will be harvested with the arteries and veins that supply nutrients to the flap, allowing this flap to remain as living tissue in the chest area. Because this is natural human tissue, this method produces the most natural feel in the final result.
For some women, the best option is the placement of implants after a mastectomy. Because the implant is being placed in an area that has had tissue removed, it may be necessary to use a tissue expander before the implant is placed. Over several weeks, this expander will be gradually filled with a saline solution, allowing the skin to produce more cells and ultimately a pocket for the implant. After the implant is placed, Dr. Chasan can perform nipple reconstruction and even areola tattooing to create a new, natural result for the patient. Additionally, he may opt to use fat transfer to thicken the tissue over the implant, contributing to a natural outcome.