A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor removes part or all of the breast. It is most commonly done in cases of breast cancer.
What are a Woman’s Choices After Undergoing a Mastectomy?
A woman who has had a breast removed has three basic choices: doing nothing, getting a prosthetic breast or undergoing breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction surgery is a great way to achieve a natural-looking bust once again.
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery is a type of plastic surgery in which our surgeon rebuilds the woman’s breast. It may be immediate, in which the doctor at least begins the procedure right after removing the original breast. It may be delayed, in which the patient waits for several months or even years before undergoing surgery. Some women prefer to undergo the immediate procedure, while others don’t want to deal with breast reconstruction at the same time they’re coping with cancer. Our surgeon may also recommend delayed surgery if the woman has other health problems and/or will be undergoing radiation treatments.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are two basic types of breast reconstruction: implants and tissue flap procedures. Implants consist of a flexible shell. Surgery involving implants may be one-stage or two-stage procedures. One-stage procedures are performed right after the mastectomy. The surgeon may put the implant beneath the chest muscles. He may also make a sling to hold the implant in place. The sling may be made from a skin graft or an absorbable mesh.
In a two-stage procedure, the surgeon may insert a tissue expander underneath the skin to make it slowly stretch. The surgeon may periodically inject saline into the expander. Two or three months later, the surgeon may replace the expander with the permanent implant. Two-stage procedures may be used if the skin left over from the mastectomy isn’t strong or healthy enough to support an implant.
In tissue flap procedures, the surgeon may use fat, muscle or other tissues taken from another part of the patient’s own body. There are several different types of tissue flap procedures, and the most common may use tissues taken from the patient’s abdomen or upper back. Less common procedures may involve using tissues from the buttocks or thighs.
Tissue flap procedures may take longer and involve more surgery than do implants. On the other hand, the reconstructed breasts may look more natural than implants. They also tend to behave like the rest of the patient’s body. For example, if the patient gains or loses weight, the reconstructed breast may change size along with the natural breast.
Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy
To learn more about how breast reconstruction surgery may help you after a mastectomy, visit Real Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Moonee Ponds. Mr. Salerno also serves the Melbourne and surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.