After a mastectomy, there are a wide range of options available for breast reconstruction. From implants, to tissue flaps, to combinations of both, there are many methods available to suit each person’s individual situation. The Texas Center for Breast Reconstruction is proud to offer all available methods of breast cancer reconstruction. Dallas based reconstruction experts Dr. McKane and Dr. Duffy are here to consult with you on all of the options available.
Flap breast reconstruction
Perforator flaps make use of the body’s own existing tissue in the construction of a new breast. By employing microsurgical techniques, the necessary blood vessels are taken through the muscles without taking any of the muscle tissue itself, thus allowing for improved recovery times, enhanced matching with existing natural breasts, and decreased risk of hernia or other complications of muscle weakness. The most common of perforator flaps is the DIEP flap, which takes tissue from the abdominal area and has the added benefit of improving a woman’s abdominal contour along with the reconstruction. Other types of perforator flaps include the SGAP, IGAP, and PAP flaps which use tissue from the buttocks, and inner and back of the thigh respectively. An older flap method, called the TRAM flap, utilizes tissue from the abdominal area like the DIEP and SIEA flaps but the harvesting process removes abdominal muscle as well, increasing the risk of hernia and muscle weakness.
Implant reconstruction may be done in one or two stages depending on the amount of skin and tissue remaining in the breast area after a mastectomy. If enough exists, the implants can simply be inserted with either an outpatient procedure or a one to two day stay if done immediately following the mastectomy. If not enough tissue exists, a tissue expander is first inserted and liquid is added in the following weeks to naturally stretch the surrounding skin. Once the skin has sufficiently stretched, the implant is inserted. Benefits of this method are shorter recovery times than with flap methods, enhanced control of size of the new breast, and no extra scars on the body due to the harvesting of flap tissue.
Combination flap and implant reconstruction
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a method in which flap tissue is placed over an implant to reconstruct a breast. This can be done to achieve a more natural appearance or for patients who are undergoing radiation therapy to protect the implant. The most common of this type is the Latissimus Flap reconstruction, in which tissue is harvested from the area below the shoulder blade and used to cover the implant. Advantages of this method are to bring healthy tissue to correct problems associated with radiation. This form of reconstruction is often combined with a tissue expander and ultimately an implant.
If you’re considering a breast cancer reconstruction, Dallas experts Dr. McKane and Dr. Duffy are here to help! Call today to schedule a consultation.
Prior to a mastectomy procedure, most women feel nervous, afraid, and anxious. In addition to seeking advice from women who have undergone a mastectomy, it may help to start to prepare for the procedure.
We put together a quick list of some of the things that we think would help our Dallas mastectomy patients through the surgery and also into recovery. If you’ve recently discovered that you need a mastectomy and want to consider breast reconstruction after your upcoming procedure, please give us a call. We’re here to help and would love to answer your questions or talk about any concerns you have.
Getting Ready for Your Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction
- Drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet – After your mastectomy, your body will have a lot of healing to do and will need resources to do that quickly. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthful foods with essential nutrients can help you recover and prepare for a breast reconstruction.
- Pack a bag – Coming prepared with a bag of clothes and other necessities can be an incredible benefit. You may not be able to move your arms very much after your mastectomy so here are some ideas about what to include in your bag: front button pajamas, front button shirts, comfy pants or leggings, body pillow, electric toothbrush, face wipes, movies or books you love.
- Stop smoking – If you smoke, you should stop two weeks before your surgery and, if possible, quit entirely. Smoking greatly reduces your body’s ability to heal and will increase your risk of complications.
The Texas Center for Breast Reconstruction is ready to help Dallas mastectomy patients prepare for a breast reconstruction. If you’ve just learned that you need a mastectomy, we would be happy to set up a consultation to talk with you about your options for your reconstruction after the surgery, and provide you with the help that you need. Call us today.
The loss of a breast due to cancer can be a traumatic experience. After a mastectomy, you may find yourself just wishing you could get back to your life, but you feel unbalanced. Though there are a variety of other reconstruction options available, there are a number of reasons to choose breast reconstruction using implants. Dallas breast reconstruction experts Dr. McKane and Dr. Duffy are here to help as you take this important step in moving forward.
Tissue expanders and why they are needed
Often in the reconstruction of a breast, a patient may not have enough tissue or skin in the area of the breast to allow implants to be placed immediately. If this is the case, reconstruction takes place in two stages: expansion and implant placement. In the first stage, an expander, which is a temporary implant, is placed under the skin. Once the initial incision is healed, the doctor will inject fluid every 1-2 weeks, causing the skin surrounding the expander to stretch naturally. Once there is enough skin, the doctor will proceed with stage 2, removing the expander and placing the actual implant into the breast.
Advantages of implant reconstruction
- Implant reconstruction is a less invasive procedure than when reconstructive flaps are harvested from the body, thus both the procedure and the recovery time are generally shorter. During the replacement procedure an overnight stay in the hospital is generally not required.
- Cosmetic appearance is generally very good with this method, particularly in bi-lateral (two-sided) reconstructions. The final size of the reconstructed breast may also be easier to control with this method.
- Because no reconstructive flaps are harvested from the body, there will be no additional scars after the procedure besides those on the breasts themselves.
Disadvantages of implant reconstruction
- For patients having single-sided mastectomies, it can be difficult to match the look and feel of the other breast with an implant.
- There can be complications associated with implants, such as rupture, infection, implant malposition, and capsular contracture, which can require secondary procedures to correct.
If you’re considering breast implant reconstruction, Dallas area experts Dr. McKane and Dr. Duffy of the Texas Center for Breast Reconstruction are ready to answer any questions you may have. Call today for a consultation!