is a surgical procedure that is done to rebuild a breast's shape after
mastectomy. This surgery cannot restore what the woman has lost due to
breast cancer because a reconstructed breast is normally devoid of any natural
feeling. However, this surgery can offer a result that does resemble a
breast mound by using either a prosthesis (breast implant) or using the
patient's own tissues from other parts of her body to form a flap - or could
possibly be a combination of the two.
Every patient is
different with their individual needs with their cancer diagnosis.
type of reconstruction will depend on:
What type flap techniques are
A flap technique is
performed using fat, skin and a small amount of muscle. Where this muscle
comes from depends on what procedure is right for the patient's body type.
Who is a good candidate for
A good candidate for
breast reconstruction surgery is a patient that does not have other medical
conditions or illnesses which could possibly interfere with the breast
reconstruction surgery. Patients need to exhibit a positive outlook and
have realistic goals with the outcome of surgery.
When is the best time to do
can be started at the same time the mastectomy is performed - however each case
is different. Breast reconstruction can be performed at any time after
breast removal as well, and there are many women who may choose to wait. Emotional needs along with health conditions are all considered when deciding
when the right time should be.
Who will do my breast
is done by a
plastic surgeon. When treating a patient with breast
cancer, there is a team of physicians, radiologist and surgeons all working
The team consists
Will my breasts look the same?
Your plastic surgeon
will try to closely match your own breast to your existing one. More than
likely if you are only having one mastectomy, then the reconstructed breast will
appear somewhat different.
If the patient elects
to have bilateral mastectomy, then the breasts being reconstructed will tend to
match better, especially if the reconstruction is done with
Will the breast feel the same?
If you are only
having one breast reconstructed, then this breast will have a tendency to feel a
little bit firmer than your natural breast.
If you elect to have
bilateral mastectomies, then both reconstructed breasts will feel the same.
Will I lose all sensation to
my breast area?
The loss of sensation
varies from patient to patient and the actual type of mastectomy that was
performed. Patients who are able to have immediate one stage
reconstruction can regain some feeling into the area. Each patient is
unique with their
recovery and whether or not any feeling can be restored.
Is it better to have saline or
silicone implants for reconstruction?
As even with breast
augmentation, choosing the implant filler is a personal choice. With
breast reconstruction, due to the amount of tissue that is removed, silicone is
normally the implant of choice, as it mimics the softness and feel of natural
breast tissue. There is less rippling with silicone implants as well.
There is also the
newer double lumen implants that are a combination of silicone and saline.
Will my body reject AlloDerm?
Alloderm is human
tissue that is derived from cadavers, in which all DNA is removed, so there is
no chance of rejection. The Alloderm allows for the new tissue to
regenerate by laying down a foundation. After six weeks following your
reconstruction, your own tissue migrates into the AlloDerm forming a matrix to
help support the breast implant.
How long will I be in the
If the procedure you
choose is flap reconstruction, the hospital stay is around 4 to 5 days.
Reconstruction with immediate implants or expanders, the hospital stay is
normally one day.
More Breast Reconstruction and Breast Cancer Information: