Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can be anempowering choice.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you will likely go through a lot of emotions and have to make some major decisions. There are medical, emotional, lifestyle and financial considerations, but exploring one’s options is a bold, proactive way to move forward. Some of these options are explored below.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can be an empowering choice. When challenged with the loss of a breast due to breast cancer or other disease, women today have a wider variety of treatments to choose from than ever before, including the popular breast reconstruction in Houston that helps women regain some of their sense of self.
When challenged with the loss of a breast due to breast cancer or other disease, women today have a wider range of treatment to choose from than ever before.
At a difficult time of your life, you find yourself faced with an array of decisions. There are medical, emotional, lifestyle and financial considerations, but exploring one’s options is a bold, proactive way to move forward. Some of these options are explored below.
Before & After Photos
Timing Your Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Immediate: Breast reconstruction at the time of your mastectomy is not only possible, but may be preferable in certain patients.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
At Texas Center for Breast & Body, we offer a number of breast reconstruction options and our surgical team will help you make the right decision based on your needs. First and foremost, Dr. Schusterman attempts to use as much of your natural skin as possible to create the best overall results from your reconstruction. This may also include the nipple and areola. However, much of this will depend on the location and size of your cancer.
Implants and Tissue Expanders
When appropriate, an inflatable implant may be inserted behind the pectoral muscle. This temporary implant can then be expanded gradually to stretch out the skin and surrounding tissues so a new breast can be formed. Once the expander has reached the appropriate size, it is then removed and replaced with a long-term silicone implant filled with saline or soft silicone.
Your Own Tissues and Skin
If enough skin and tissue can be salvaged, our experienced surgeons may be able to completely reconstruct your breast using your own skin and tissue. In most cases, this skin and tissue may be removed from the abdomen. This can be done microsurgically called the DIEP flap which drastically limits the damage to your abdominal wall.
Your Own Tissue Plus Implants
For patients who don’t have enough fat and skin to move from other areas, a combination of your own tissue and implants can be used.
After going through breast reconstruction in Houston, Dr. Schusterman will reconstruct the nipple. Once this area has healed, you will return for pigmentation of the nipple and areola area, which is done through a tattooing process. Colors are matched as closely to the other breast as possible.
Regardless of which method is used to reconstruct your breasts, the overall process is relatively similar. For most patients, general anesthesia is used. The entire procedure can take anywhere from one to six hours, depending on the extent of the reconstruction and whether it will use implants or your own natural tissues.
Implant reconstructions often require tissue expanders, which will require a second surgery to remove the expanders and place the long-term implants in their place. On the other hand, natural tissue reconstructions can typically be completed in just one procedure. Because it removes fat and tissue from other areas of the body, this option also comes with the added benefit of a tummy tuck or other reduction procedure.
The size of the incisions necessary for a breast reconstruction in Houston will vary depending on the type of work done, as well as the size and shape of the individual woman. During the course of the reconstruction surgery, our experienced surgeons will evaluate the remaining tissues surrounding the breast area to ensure there are no abnormalities that need to be removed. Upon completing the surgery, drains may be placed for several days, after which they will be removed in our office with no additional pain.
The recovery time is dependent on which type of surgery you have performed. The tissue expander/implant process has a very short recovery time from surgery but does require a two-step process. The DIEP flap surgery requires a longer recovery time but once it takes it is your own tissue so it eliminates the need for possible revisional surgery that is likely with an implant reconstruction in the long term. During your preoperative preparation process at Texas Center for Breast and Body, we will insure that you have all the information and instructions you need to have a successful outcome from you surgery.