Reconstructive surgery offers women who are facing the physical and emotional turmoil of a mastectomy a way to rebuild the breast with results that can closely mimic the look and feel of a natural breast. The field of breast reconstruction has seen numerous advances over the years, and there are now several different options for breast restoration with either the patient’s own tissue, implants, or a combination of the two. This ultimately gives patients more of a selection to choose from when deciding upon the ideal type of breast reconstruction for their unique anatomical needs and goals.
Our plastic surgeons in Jacksonville offer the entire spectrum of breast reconstruction techniques. During the initial consultation, our doctor will conduct an examination, review your medical history, and listen attentively to your questions and concerns. They will then go over some of the options for breast reconstruction that are best suited to your needs and expectations.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each breast reconstruction technique, and the best option will be chosen based on careful consideration by our plastic surgeon as to how well certain techniques align with your needs, desires, and past or planned treatment such as radiation, which may affect outcomes. The following list offers brief descriptions of some of the major types of breast reconstruction available at our practice. For a more comprehensive overview of the types of breast reconstruction that can be performed, please click the link or links provided in each section, which will take you to more detailed information.
Reconstruction After Lumpectomy:
For women who are undergoing a lumpectomy rather than a full mastectomy, a technique called Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction may be ideal. This type of breast reconstruction is designed to conceal aesthetic defects in the breast caused by the lumpectomy. For instance, in some patients, a lumpectomy and the radiation that follows may make the affected breast smaller than the other breast. Oncoplastic breast reconstruction can be performed to lift and shape both breasts to allow symmetry if needed in this case.
Breast Reconstruction Using the Patient’s Own Tissue:
Autologous Breast Reconstruction is an umbrella term for procedures that utilize tissue taken from another part of the body to create a new breast mound after a mastectomy. There are many approaches and techniques that can be performed, depending on each patient’s needs, including those that create “flaps” of fat, skin, and/or muscle that are relocated to the breast area to serve as the foundation for the reconstructed breast. In patients who have or will undergo radiation as part of their treatment plan, this is an ideal option to provide non-radiated tissue to reconstruct a soft, natural breast mound. Some patients just prefer using their own tissue, such as the DIEP flap, in which fat is used from the belly in a tummy tuck-like breast reconstruction. Some of the major types of Autologous Breast Reconstruction include the Perforator Flap, the DIEP Flap, the SIEP Flap, the SGAP/IGAP Flap, the TRAM Flap, and the PAP Flap techniques.
Some patients may benefit from an Implant-Based Reconstruction. This breast reconstruction technique involves the placement of a breast implant to recreate the breast. In some cases, tissue expansion in the breast area will be necessary to produce a breast pocket large enough to accommodate the implant.
Autologous Breast Reconstruction with a Breast Implant:
For some individuals, a combination of Autologous Breast Reconstruction and Implant Reconstruction may be recommended. Our plastic surgeon can perform the Latissimus Muscle with Implant Reconstruction technique, which “tunnels” the latissimus muscle and skin from the patient’s back to the chest in order to create a new breast.
Breast Prosthesis without Reconstruction:
Some women may choose to be fitted with a natural-looking breast prosthesis following a mastectomy. This option does not require additional surgery.
Breast reconstruction can be performed in tandem with the mastectomy procedure, or it can be delayed until some time after the mastectomy has been performed. The ideal time for breast reconstruction will largely depend on the type of reconstruction that is chosen, the treatment plan for chemotherapy and radiation if indicated, and each patient’s specific needs and goals.
Our plastic surgeons work closely with your physicians and your oncology team to provide a genuinely collaborative effort when it comes to your care. We will be with you every step of the way through the breast reconstruction process, and we will do everything we can to help during this challenging time. If you have questions, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.