Breast reconstructive surgery
After a mastectomy, many women choose to have breast reconstructive surgery for both emotional and physical reasons. There are different methods of doing this. Here is an overview of the most common types of breast reconstructive surgery:
Method 1 – Breast Reconstruction
Sometimes, the skin where the breast has been removed needs to be stretched before the reconstructive surgery can occur. This is accomplished by inserting a type of implant, called an expander, beneath the skin and chest muscle. An expander is similar to a balloon, and it is slowly filled with a saline solution at periodic intervals. When the skin has been stretched adequately, a second surgery will be performed to remove the expander and to replace it with a permanent implant. However, under certain conditions, the expander can be left in place permanently.
Method 2 – Breast Reconconstruction
Another common breast reconstruction method involves using healthy skin and muscle from other areas of the body. One method is to use a section of skin that is attached to the latissimus muscle in the back. Another method uses part of the abdominal rectus muscle, which can be slid up into the breast area as part of breast reconstruction.
Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy
Many women also choose to have nipple reconstruction and breast implants with whichever form of breast reconstruction they choose. Reconstructive breast surgery can be performed at the time of mastectomy although it’s common for women to make the decision for reconstruction at some point following mastectomy.
There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.
Source: About.com: Breast Cancer
Warch these different methods of breast reconstructive surgery in a short video presentation here
hi-what do you know about having breasts reconstructed differently? I have an expander on the left, the “good” side (removed prophalactically) but nothing yet on the Cancer side. My Plastic surgeon wants to wait until after chemotherapy is complete, but mentioned a doing flap on my last visit because they had to remove more skin than originally planned because of the location of the tumor. I am concerned that an implant (gummi bear variety) on the right and a flap on the left will have two different feels and looks.
Do you know anything about this?
P.S. very nice site
Hi Kay-Lynne, I am shamefully lacking in knowledge of breast reconstruction as I have opted not to have any myself. All I can do is report on the latest techniques etc. What I will do is put that question out there and see if anyone comes back to us with their experience – is that ok hon?
Let me see if I can help answer your question. Yes, the implant will have a different feel from the flap reconstruction. There are several different types of flap reconstructions. Be sure to find out which type your surgeon is going to do. There are functional implications to each type of flap reconstruction that you should be aware of.
You might also want to ask if you could have your implant removed and have both breasts reconstructed using a flap technique. This is done quite often and the outcomes are quite good.
If you choose not to do this, having two different types of reconstruction is not that bad. It really comes down to the expertise of your plastic surgeon.
By the way, I’m a physiologist and my area of expertise is breast rehabilitation, consquently, my knowledge base regarding reconstruction is extensive. I’m also a breast cancer survivor and I have one natural breast and an implant on the affected side. Yes there is a difference to the feel of each, but it doesn’t really bother me. I’m very happy with my outcome. Hopefully, this helped clarify some issues for you.
Doreen, thank you so much for this. You truly epitomise the power of cause-related social networking. Your answer will help many others I am sure. I am most grateful you have taken the time and care to help out like this.