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Breast reconstruction is a very important part of the overall treatment of breast cancer. The improvements in the outcomes of breast cancer therapy have led more women to be concerned about the appearance of their breasts after treatment is complete. Most women desire breast reconstruction after mastectomy (the removal of the entire breast), but reconstruction of the partial breast after lumpectomy (removal of only the part of the breast with the tumor) is also available to improve breast shape and contour. Furthermore, since 1998 federal law has mandated that health insurance companies cover breast reconstruction for cancer patients. Excellent aesthetic results can be achieved with many types of breast reconstruction. The type of reconstruction that is best depends on each individual patient’s needs and desires. As a patient who is planning for breast reconstruction, it is important to choose the correct board certified plastic surgeon. You have a choice in who performs your breast reconstruction and are encouraged to get a second opinion with Dr. Alex Colque.
There are several ways to approach breast reconstruction after a mastectomy:
- By the use of silicone or saline implants.
- A tissue flap which takes your own tissue and shapes it into a new breast.
- A combination of the above two methods.
IMPLANT BASED BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
With implant based breast reconstruction there is usually performed in 2 stages:
Stage 1: After a mastectomy is performed a tissue expander is placed in the breast cavity to create a breast shaped pocket for the permanent implant. This can be done at the same time as the mastectomy procedure or during a separate surgery.
Stage 2: After an adequate pocket is created by expansion, the tissue expander is removed and a permanent silicone or saline implant is placed in the breast pocket.
AUTOLOGOUS (OWN TISSUE) BASED RECONSTRUCTION
A tissue flap reconstruction uses a combination of skin, fat, and/or muscle that is moved from areas such as your abdomen or back to the chest where it is shaped into a new breast. This can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy surgery or during a separate surgery after mastectomy.
Types of autologous tissue flap reconstruction include:
- Pedicled TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous Flap)
- Free TRAM
- Muscle-Sparing Free TRAM
- DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) Flap
- SIEA (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery) Flap
- Latissimus Dorsi Myocutaneous Flap
Flap surgery requires you to be in good general health. Dr. Colque will discuss which breast reconstruction option may be best for you during your consultation visit.
If only one breast is treated, it is sometimes necessary to perform a procedure on the no- tumor treated breast with a breast lift, breast reduction or breast implant to achieve better symmetry to the reconstructed breast. These procedures for breast symmetry after reconstruction are typically covered by health insurance plans.
Nipple and areola reconstruction is done after breast reconstruction is complete. Typically, surrounding tissue is used to create a nipple. The area is later tattooed to obtain natural coloring.
PARTIAL BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Patients that have undergone breast conservation surgery with lumpectomy may also find the size, shape or contour of their breast to be undesirable. Additionally, changes in the breast from radiation therapy my lead to poor breast appearance. These changes can be addressed with flaps, grafts, lifts or symmetry procedures to improve the appearance of the breast.
Dr. Colque offers all types of breast reconstruction to better meet the needs and desires of his patients. To schedule you breast reconstruction consultation in Milwaukee or Waukesha Wisconsin with Dr. Colque, call 262.781.9000 today.