Breast reconstruction Houston results when women suffering from breast cancer are treated with mastectomy. When more than a lumpectomy is required, their surgeon may suggest:
- partial mastectomy – removal of breast tissue surrounding the tumor only
- simple mastectomy – removal of all breast tissue
- modified mastectomy – removal of breast tissue, plus a small portion of chest muscle
- radical mastectomy – removal of all breast tissue and major muscle groups of the chest
Thanks to mammography, self-examination, and early detection, the incidents are low of high-stage breast cancer and the subsequent radical mastectomy, and remission rates are on the rise. However, many mastectomy patients, especially those who have undergone modified or radical mastectomy, are left with a sense of loss and grief for their missing breast and often become depressed or feel less womanly.
This does not have to be the ultimate outcome. There is help and hope available through specialized plastic surgeons in Houston who reconstruct breasts using muscle and tissue from other parts of the body. With the final touch of breast implants for modified and radical mastectomy patients, as well as for the less severe forms of surgery, a woman most often feels her sense of self restored.
Breast reconstruction options
There are two primary methods used for breast reconstruction. One is through the simple use of implants and the other is a flap procedure. In case of implants, medical-grade silicone sacs filled with salt water or silicone gel are inserted beneath the skin to equalize the breast shapes or to create an entirely new structure.
In case of a breast flap procedure, natural tissue from another part of the woman’s body like abdomen or back is used to replace the diseased portion. The choice of tissue used for creating a new breast is made by the plastic surgeon based on factors like the patient’s age, health and extent of cancer,. In cases of simple or modified mastectomy breast reconstruction, only abdominal fat and skin is used for the plastic surgery.
When reconstructing a breast after radical mastectomy, the plastic surgeon may use portions of major back muscles that move the shoulder for to replace what was lost. While breast flap procedure creates a more realistic breast, it is not advised for women who smoke, are diabetic or suffer from any health problems that inhibit the healing of the skin. The skill, expertise, and experience of the plastic surgeon must be a strong consideration when determining what course of treatment to follow.
Multiple surgeries may be required
Breast reconstruction in Houston is usually not accomplished with a single surgery, as healing is required between steps. Primary procedures may include the transplantation of muscle, fat, and/or skin before inserting the implant. Other procedures may be needed to add a nipple, change the reconstructed breasts shape or size or to make the opposite breast match the reconstructed breast.
It is true that reconstructed breasts are not like natural ones and do not have any natural sensation. However, women who undergo breast reconstruction in Houston are generally pleased with the results as it helps improve their self-confidence tri-fold and heighten their quality of life. With a positive outlook and a stronger sense of self, breast cancer sufferers can move more courageously down the road to recovery.
Renowned Houston plastic surgeon Mark A. Schusterman, MD, FACS, was the first to use the tram flap procedure for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. A pioneer in microsurgical surgical techniques, Dr. Haas is devoted to meeting the varied and complex needs of women with breast cancer in Houston.