Losing a breast due to mastectomy after cancer treatment can be an extremely emotional and life-changing event, and women are often left feeling self-conscious about their appearance. Breast reconstruction surgery is intended to enhance your confidence and self-image after breast cancer.
Many studies have shown the physical and emotional benefits of having breast reconstruction to recreate the breast mound and nipple areolar complex. Dr. Glatt has the advanced skills and aesthetic ability needed to create natural looking breasts that can help restore a sense of wholeness. Dr. Glatt specializes in this type of surgery, having completed a fellowship at the world-famous Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City in advanced reconstructive techniques with a focus on breast reconstruction.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are two main types of breast reconstruction. The most common procedure uses an implant filled with saline (salt water) or silicone, to rebuild the breast mound. An alternative is to create a breast mound using your own tissue, “borrowed” from another part of the body. After a thorough discussion with Dr. Glatt about both types of reconstruction, your own physical characteristics may also play a role as to which procedure might be most appropriate for you.
During your consultation with Dr. Glatt at his practice in New Jersey, he will discuss all of your breast reconstruction options in detail with you in order to help reach a decision about which method of reconstruction might be most appropriate for you.
Reconstruction after Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction techniques have advanced greatly over the past few years. In addition, techniques have significantly evolved to help produce as natural a result as possible. For women who have certain anatomic and tumor characteristics, nipple-sparing mastectomy may be an option.
While traditional mastectomy techniques have required that the nipple and areola be removed along with the underlying breast tissue, nipple-sparing mastectomy preserves this anatomically sensitive structure! Reconstruction following this method relies heavily on the use of tissue expanders and implants, and results are extremely natural.
Reconstruction with Implants
Breast reconstruction with breast implants is the least invasive method of reconstructing the breast. During your initial consultation with Dr. Glatt, he will help determine the correct size, shape, and position of the implants to help you ultimately achieve a balanced and natural look.
A mastectomy removes a variable amount of breast skin along with the nipple and breast tissue itself. The amount of breast skin removed depends, in part, on the size of the tumor and location of the biopsy scar. Mastectomy also impairs the skin’s circulation, which sometimes compromises its ability to heal well. It is therefore not possible to perform breast reconstruction with a full-size implant at the time of mastectomy. Instead, the skin must be stretched gradually after it is healed and its circulation has recovered.
Breast reconstruction with full-size implants is a lengthy process with impressive, beautiful results.
This process, called tissue expansion, is accomplished using a tissue expander. The expander, which is similar to a saline implant but slightly different in shape, is a deflated plastic bag that can be gradually filled with fluid. This technique creates a breast mound by initially placing a saline filled tissue expander under the skin and pectoralis muscle (the broad chest muscle under the breast) of the chest wall. Over time, the expander is filled with more and more saline, until the desired size is reached.
At a second procedure, which is an outpatient, same day surgery, the tissue expander is removed and a formal breast implant is placed, filled with either saline or silicone gel. The expanded skin is fashioned into the final breast shape during this breast reconstruction procedure. A reduction or lift of the opposite breast may be performed at this time as well, in order to better match the size and shape of the reconstructed breast.
Breast reconstruction with implants requires less extensive surgery than tissue reconstruction, but it usually requires more steps to achieve the final result.
A flap reconstruction may be the best option for patients who wish to have breast reconstruction without implants. This method creates a breast mound with tissue “borrowed” from another part of your body. Breast reconstruction with a flap of your own tissues is an excellent option for women who wish to avoid the use of foreign materials.
Breasts reconstructed with tissue are soft and have a more natural shape. However, the surgery will leave a new scar at the site of the borrowed tissue. Although tissue reconstruction involves a longer and more complicated procedure initially, a breast reconstructed with body tissue ages much more like a natural breast and is less likely to require maintenance as you age.
A number of “donor” sites are available for breast reconstruction. Tissue can be taken from the abdomen (TRAM flap breast reconstruction), or from the upper back (latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction), in order to reconstruct the breast. Because the back muscle is close to the chest area, the muscle and skin flap can often remain attached to its own blood supply, resulting in a quicker recovery than when tissue is taken from other areas and must be removed from its blood supply.
Dr. Glatt and you will work together to customize your breast restoration for natural results.
Both flap breast reconstruction methods may also be combined with breast implants to achieve the desired shape and appropriate size match. To determine which method would be best for you, contact Dr. Glatt’s office in New Jersey to schedule a breast reconstruction consultation today.
Breast Reconstruction — Contact Dr. Glatt in New Jersey
To learn more about breast reconstruction options contact Dr. Glatt’s New Jersey practice today.