Boris Goldman, MD, FACS - Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Center, LLC

Breast Reconstruction                     (Click here for before and after photos) 
                                                             *please be advised of graphic content*

                                                       

Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible for surgeons to create a breast that can come close in form and appearance to matching a natural breast. Frequently, reconstruction is possible immediately following breast removal (mastectomy), so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, having been spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all.

But bear in mind, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction is not a simple procedure. There are often many options to consider as you and your doctor explore what's best for you.

What is Breast Reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction recreates the breast mound at the site of the mastectomy using a breast implant or the woman’s own tissue.  NO breast reconstruction of any type can replace your original breast.  A good reconstruction looks quite natural, is a good size match with the remaining breast and allows you to wear regular clothes and undergarments.

Who is a candidate?

Most women with early-stage cancer are candidates for reconstruction.  Certain health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or smoking may make the more complex types of reconstruction too risky.

When is the best time?

Immediate breast reconstruction can be done at the time of the mastectomy.  Delayed reconstruction is done at a separate time after the mastectomy.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.
With immediate reconstruction a woman wakes up from her mastectomy with the reconstruction already in place (flap reconstruction), or the process initiated (tissue expander).  She is spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all.  In some cases, immediate reconstruction may result in a more naturally shaped breast than delayed reconstruction.

Sometimes, the nature of the cancer or the overall health of the patient make delayed reconstruction a better choice.  Some women feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis of cancer and wish to leave decision-making about reconstruction until later.  Chemotherapy can be given safely after immediate reconstruction.  If radiation therapy is planned after mastectomy, reconstruction will be delayed.  It is never “too late” for breast reconstruction, the option is always there.

Will it match my other breast?

While reconstructive techniques are quite sophisticated, no reconstruction is an exact replica of the breast it replaces.  The most difficult aspect of reconstruction is creating the natural “droop” of the mature breast.  Reconstruction is also limited in its ability to create a larger breast.  Often it is necessary to modify the remaining healthy breast to achieve a good match.  This may mean a breast lift (mastopexy), augmentation or reduction.

What about the nipple?

Nipple/areola reconstruction is the last stage in any breast reconstruction.  It is done about three months after the completion of the breast mound.  It consists of a minor office procedure to rearrange skin on the breast mound to form the nipple, followed by in-office tattooing six weeks later to complete the reconstruction.

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