Breast Cancer Reconstruction: An Overview

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is devastating news and just the beginning of a long journey many women face. Our compassionate surgeons at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction understand these challenges and want patients to feel comfortable with their healthcare options when it comes to breast cancer care.

Types of Breast Cancer Reconstruction

There are a few types of breast cancer reconstruction that women can choose from. Implants with tissue expansion and Autologous reconstruction are among the most common procedures performed in the U.S.

Implant Reconstruction

After tissue is properly expanded, implants are placed to produce a natural fullness and size to the breasts. Skin envelopes are made by stretching the patient’s skin. The type of implant is chosen based upon the patient’s preference. Implants can be saline, silicone jelly, or gummy bear.

Autologous

Autologous breast reconstruction means reconstruction that uses tissue – skin, fat and sometimes muscle – from another place on the body. The plastic surgery term for a piece of tissue like this is a flap. This method consists of pedicled flaps (the blood supply to the flap remains attached); and free flaps (the blood supply to the flap is separated and reattached). Some of these flaps include:

Pedicled TRAM Flap

Free TRAM Flap

Free DIEP Flap

Latissimus Dorsi Flap

Nipple/ Areolar Reconstruction

There are a few options patients have in reconstructing their nipples and areolas. Previously, breast reconstruction did not take into account the nipple and areola, which were always removed because of concern of remaining breast cancer cells in those areas. Now, in select patients, the remaining area is carefully examined for any sign of cancer in the remaining tissue and can be kept as part of the reconstruction.

Some options include:

Tattoo alone, 3D tattoo, Nipple Flap or Graft, Skin graft with tattoo

Here at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, we are passionate about helping our patients every step of the way, women regaining their confidence and gaining back what the breast cancer took away. Our compassionate doctors work with each patient to develop a breast reconstruction plan they can feel good about.

Click here for more information on the Breast Reconstruction Program at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction.

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