The loss of the breasts due to mastectomy following breast cancer is an added emotional burden to an already difficult time. Losing part of the body that makes you unique, as well as female, used to be the end of the surgical procedures. However, more women are choosing breast reconstruction after their mastectomy to give them back that part of themselves cancer took away. Due to improvements in the procedure, women are able to have breasts that are close to the same size and shape they once were.
Immediate Vs. Delayed Breast Reconstruction
Women today have choices when it comes to breast reconstruction. Choosing the one that is right for you is something that should be discussed with your oncologist and Dr. Foster. This is also dependent on if you want immediate or delayed reconstruction.
Immediate means having the procedure at the same time as your mastectomy. Advantages of this are one less surgery you need to go through in your future and the final result may look better. Delayed reconstruction may be advised by your oncologist if radiation treatment is necessary.
Types of Reconstruction
Besides deciding on immediate or delayed reconstruction, you need to decide on the type of breast reconstruction. Again, there are options. Breast implants and a tissue flap procedure are possible with today’s advances in plastic surgery.
Breast Implant Procedure for Breast Reconstruction
Breast implants are one option for women who are considering breast reconstruction. Both saline and silicone breast implants are options. This can be performed immediately following the mastectomy procedure, or in a two-stage delayed reconstruction.
If your chest wall tissue and skin are tight, the two-stage reconstruction procedure may be best. A balloon-like tissue-expander is implanted and filled with a salt water solution over time by Dr. Foster. Once the tissue and skin has expanded enough, a second surgery is performed to remove the tissue-expander and place the breast implant.
Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle (TRAM) Flap Procedure for Breast Reconstruction
The TRAM flap procedure takes tissue from the abdomen and use it in breast reconstruction. It is estimated that one quarter to one half of all procedures in the US are performed using the TRAM flap procedure. The reconstructed breast’s consistency and its similarity to the way the natural breast looks and feels is a main advantage. Also, because the tissue used is from the patient’s body, the chances of foreign bodies reacting negatively are low, as is the chance for capsular contracture.
How Can Breast Reconstruction Help Me?
Surgery is an important step in recovering a sense of self post-mastectomy. By undergoing breast reconstruction, you will regain some of the self-confidence you have lost or are worried about with a mastectomy.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have been thinking about taking the next steps in exploring breast reconstruction, call (203) 577-6550 to schedule a free consultation with top plastic surgeon, Dr. Stanley Foster at his office located in Middlebury, Connecticut.