What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast cancer treatment requires partial or complete removal of the breast (mastectomy) for many women, while others may have a breast section removed (lumpectomy). The procedure and overall breast cancer treatment take a tremendous toll, not just on your body, but your sense of self. Breast cancer survivors commonly struggle with a loss of femininity after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Dr. Andrea Doyle, our board-certified female plastic surgeon, understands the psychological impact facing women after treatment for breast cancer and offers breast reconstruction to restore their confidence and feminine body shape.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction, contact the Centre for Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery in East Greenwich today at 401.336.3770 to schedule your consultation. Dr. Doyle and our entire team at the CentreFARS serve patients in the surrounding Rhode Island areas of Providence and East Greenwich.
Breast Reconstruction Options
Immediate breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy, and delayed breast reconstruction is often performed months (even years) after mastectomy or lumpectomy. These procedures aim to restore the size, shape, and feminine appearance of your breasts after cancer surgery. Some women choose the delayed option to give their body time to heal and until other treatments for cancer are completed.
What Should I Expect at a Breast Reconstruction Consultation?
There are many techniques for breast reconstruction, and the procedure that is right for your needs depends on many factors. Dr. Doyle will help you determine the best course of action for your breast reconstruction during your consultation. The procedure is performed in stages, which can span six months or longer. The first surgery is typically the most complex, with subsequent outpatient procedures that involve minimal pain and recovery. The two techniques for breast reconstruction are tissue expansion and muscle flap.
Tissue Expansion Breast Reconstruction with Breast Implant(s)
The initial procedure involves the placement of a tissue expander underneath the pectoralis muscle (chest muscle). That expander acts as a temporary saline breast implant, which stretches the remaining breast tissue gradually. Over several weeks, Dr. Doyle will inject a saline solution through a tiny internal valve in the expander to sufficiently stretch the skin.
The secondary surgery removes the tissue expander and replaces it with a permanent saline or silicone breast implant. In some cases, fat grafting may be used to enhance results, which involves removing fat from another area of the body through liposuction and transferring the cells into the breasts to improve breast appearance. In the case of immediate breast reconstruction, the implant may be placed without using a tissue expander.
Muscle Flap Breast Reconstruction
The muscle flap procedure uses your own tissue for breast reconstruction. The muscles most commonly used are the back muscle (latissimus muscle) or the abdominal muscle (rectus muscle or TRAM flap). A breast implant may be used in conjunction with the back muscle flap. Muscle flap breast reconstruction is a complex procedure and requires an experienced plastic surgeon.
As with tissue expansion, the muscle flap procedure may require subsequent revision surgeries such as fat grafting to improve the breast contour and improve any divots or hollowing in the breasts. Revision breast reconstruction may take place months or years after a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or flap or expander reconstruction, particularly if additional cancer treatments are necessary.
Nipple or areola reconstruction is performed in a separate operation. This procedure may involve using small pieces of skin tissue to create a nipple-like bump. Some women have the reconstructed nipple and surrounding skin tattooed to resemble an areola.
What Procedures Can Be Paired with Breast Reconstruction?
If only one breast is affected by mastectomy or lumpectomy, your breast reconstruction can be paired with another breast surgery to improve the symmetry of both breasts, which may include:
Contact Dr. Andrea Doyle About Breast Reconstruction at CentreFARS
Dr. Doyle is an experienced breast reconstruction surgeon and will discuss your options, the recovery process, and any risks during your initial consultation. Many breast cancer survivors feel more comfortable with a female plastic surgeon who understands the feminine physique and psychological impact of losing one or both breasts to cancer treatment.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction, contact Dr. Doyle at the Centre for Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery today at 401.336.3770 to schedule your consultation. Dr. Doyle is a board-certified plastic surgeon who serves patients in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and nearby areas such as Providence.