Your Options for Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy or Lumpectomy
Mastectomy and lumpectomy are surgeries done to remove breast tissue when breast cancer develops or you’re at a high risk of developing it in the future. Many women choose to get breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild the look and the shape of their breasts after these procedures. It can take place during or after mastectomy and lumpectomy. If you’re considering breast reconstruction, then the best place to start is your reconstructive or plastic surgeon. Breast reconstruction can be a delicate and complicated process on top of your cancer treatment, so it’s important to rely on the expertise of your healthcare team. Here’s what to know about breast reconstruction and what you can expect.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are generally two types of breast reconstruction, and one may be best for you based on factors like your cancer treatment, preferences, and anatomy.
1. Implant Reconstruction
This procedure is done by inserting a tissue expander implant filled with saline or silicone gel. There are several options now available for reconstruction using implants. Your board certified plastic surgeon can help you determine the type of breast implant and placement. Implant reconstruction is a recommended option for women who want to avoid scars and incisions in other parts of the body. Implant based reconstruction is usually done at the same time as mastectomy, or you can wait until after you recover for a delayed reconstruction. Dr Fichadia uses cutting edge technology such as assessment of skin circulation during surgery (ICG angiography) to determine the best way to do reconstruction. She also offers the latest advances in implant based reconstruction, such as prepectoral reconstruction and direct-to-implant reconstruction. Dr. Fichadia also does fat grafting as an adjunct to implant based reconstruction.
2. Flap Reconstruction
Flap reconstruction, also known as autologous reconstruction, uses your own tissue transplanted from another body part, usually from the back, thighs, or belly. It can sometimes be paired with implant reconstruction. The upside to using your own tissue for reconstruction is that it has a natural feel, and can be a one-time surgery. The downside is prolonged recovery time, and additional surgical incisions and surgical sites to recover from. In some cases, fat transfer can be used to improve your results both with implant based reconstruction and flap surgery.
3. Reconstruction after lumpectomy
In some cases, a breast reduction surgery can be combined with lumpectomy to prevent significant asymmetry and deformity after a lumpectomy. This is done on both sides to optimize symmetry.
How to Prepare for Breast Reconstruction
The best way to start your breast reconstruction journey is by talking with your healthcare team and your board-certified plastic surgeon. There are steps you’ll need to take like consulting on your surgical plan, choosing reconstruction methods, and preparing for the surgery itself. It’s important to follow your plastic surgeon’s directions to prepare for your procedure as well as your recovery so you can focus on letting your body heal.
Choosing a Qualified Plastic Surgeon
It’s important to find a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon to perform your procedure. You should always verify your plastic surgeon’s board certification and ensure they have plenty of experience in performing reconstructive surgeries. Above all, they should make you feel supported, comfortable, and heard during your consultation process.
Schedule a Consultation
Breast reconstruction can be a difficult journey, so learning more about your options can be a great place to start. To meet with Dr. Hetal Fichadia and our reconstructive team, we invite you to contact our Portland office by calling or filling out our online form.