October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many women eligible for breast reconstruction following cancer surgery are not being informed of their choices. All women should know their options!
Studies have revealed*:
• Only 23 percent of women know the complete range of breast reconstruction options available
• Only 19 percent of women understand that the timing of their treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction can greatly impact their options and results
Our Breast Reconstruction procedure restores a natural, symmetrical appearance to breasts, maintains body proportion, allows clothes to fit better, and most important of all, boosts self-confidence for women who have had one or both breasts removed via mastectomy or who lack breasts due to a genetic or developmental abnormality.
The goal of the reconstructive surgeons at Suffolk Plastic Surgeons, PC is to create a new breast and nipple that resemble the woman’s natural breast as closely as possible in shape, size and position. The reconstruction itself consists of multiple surgeries, the first of which involves creation of the breast mound and is performed during or after mastectomy in a hospital under general anesthesia. Follow-up surgeries may be done in an outpatient facility, under either general or local anesthesia.
There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, both with and without implants; Suffolk Plastic Surgeons will work help you to decide which one is best for you.
The most common procedure combines skin expansion in the breast area with implant insertion. First, your surgeon will insert a balloon expander beneath the skin and chest muscle where your reconstructed breast will be located. A saline (salt water) solution is then injected into the expander through a tiny valve beneath the skin over a few weeks or months, eventually filling it and stretching the skin. The expander may then be left in that place or replaced with a breast implant. A final procedure reconstructs the nipple and areola. Not all patients require the tissue expansion and can begin with the implant.
Another reconstruction option is a deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap. This procedure uses skin and tissue from the abdominal area to recreate the breast mound after a mastectomy. In the majority of cases, there is enough excess fat and skin in the tummy area to create a new breast mound and restore the breast appearance. A DIEP flap does not involve moving any muscle tissue, and will result in less pain and shorter recovery times. Patients may also benefit from a flatter and more toned abdomen after skin and fat are removed.
The recurrence of cancer, chemotherapy or radiation treatment will not be affected by breast reconstruction. However, in additional to the complications that may arise after any surgical procedure, there are some risks that can occur, including infection around the implant, if an implant is used, and capsular contracture, when the scar around the implant tightens, causing the breast to feel hard.
If you’re a breast cancer survivor whose cancer was eradicated with mastectomy, you are a candidate for breast reconstruction. Women with health problems such as obesity and/or high blood pressure and those who smoke are advised to wait. Contact Suffolk Plastic Surgeons PC at 631-364-0333 for your breast reconstruction consultation!
*Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons