Breast reconstruction can most easily be described as one or more surgical procedures performed in order to restore the breast to a near normal shape, appearance, and size following mastectomy for breast cancer. Reconstruction can occasionally be done at the time of the mastectomy, but there are a variety of reasons to wait, including patient preference. It is important to discuss all options with your breast surgeon and your plastic surgeon so that you are well informed and have all of your questions answered prior to surgery.
Regarding breast reconstruction options, a variety of techniques may be utilized. With advancements in microsurgery and it's incorporation into breast reconstruction, options are available that use your own body tissue to reconstruct the breast and have excellent success rates. You will find each of these procedures outlined in more detail below.
An important concept to keep in mind is the variability of outcome with breast reconstruction. A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation as your original breast. Additionally, you will have scars from the incisions required to perform the mastectomy and the reconstruction, not only on the breast but also at the donor site, if applicable, which might be on the abdomen, back, or buttocks. Furthermore, if only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed or you may choose to have a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. In either scenario, great lengths will be taken to achieve symmetry, although it is unlikely that they will be exactly the same in size, position, and shape.
Preparing for Your Visit
At your initial consultation, you should be prepared to discuss not only your expecations and desired outcome from your breast reconstruction, but a full history of your medical conditions, previous surgeries, medications, allergies, and use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Next, you will go through all the available options for breast reconstruction including expectations, risks, and potential complications. You can expect to undergo a
complete examination, including photographs, to help assess what option will provide you with the best outcome. After a thorough discussion, you and your plastic surgeon can come to a decision as far as what is right for you and will best meet your goals.
- After cancer or trauma.
- Reconstruction of lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, complete mastectomy with or without radiation.
- During or after cancer treatment.
- Best overall results can be obtained by exploring breast reconstructive options and having a comprehensive plan prior to initiating treatment.
- Reconstruction options:
- breast implant, autologous reconstruction (involving excess abdominal skin and fat), nipple and areola reconstruction, and combination procedures.
Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
- Complex surgical operation that addresses open wounds or abdominal weaknesses.
- Anterior abdominal wall consists of overlapping muscles and tendons that provide both static and dynamic strength, providing stability, support, and protection forinternal organs.
- Can be weakened by a traumatic injury, complex hernia or non-healing wound.
- Goals of surgery are to reinforce integrity of the abdomen, create proper muscle function, protect organs, and restore normal aesthetic appearance.