Although the incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. has been decreasing since the year 2000, it is still the most commonly-diagnosed cancer among women in America other than skin cancer. Many women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in one breast are choosing to undergo contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (double-mastectomy) to eliminate the possibility of developing cancer in the other breast. The double-mastectomy rate has more than tripled in the past decade.
After breast cancer treatment with lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double-mastectomy, many women elect to have breast reconstruction surgery to restore their breasts. With advanced surgical techniques today, women have options and impressive results can be achieved with breast reconstruction procedures.
If you are facing breast cancer surgery or have already undergone the procedure, you may be searching for a plastic surgeon in Washington, D.C. you can trust to reconstruct your breasts. Dr. Christopher C. Chang is a highly trained, board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in plastic surgery of the breast. After a consultation and careful evaluation, Dr. Chang can advise you of the most effective surgical method of breast reconstruction procedure for you.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is surgery to restore your breasts after breast cancer surgery. It may be performed during or soon after mastectomy or lumpectomy, or months or even years later. In this procedure, Dr. Chang will use a breast implant or a flap of tissue from another area of your body, or both, to recreate and restore the natural shape of your breast.
Reconstructing the breast may involve several procedures performed at different stages. Reconstruction may be initiated at the time of your cancer surgery, or at a later date. Dr. Chang takes a comprehensive approach to patient treatment, considering the big picture as well as any current treatment for better patient health, safety, and outcomes.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Dr. Chang will design an individual surgical plan for your breast reconstruction, using the most appropriate techniques, or a combination, to achieve the most attractive, natural-looking results. The two main types of breast reconstruction surgery are:
Saline or silicone implants are placed to restore the size and shape of your breasts. This procedure can be performed in two different ways:
- Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction:
At the time the mastectomy is done, after the cancer surgeon removes the breast tissue, Dr. Chang will place the implant, usually under the pectoral muscle of the chest. Absorbable mesh or a special tissue graft is used to define the breast shape and hold the implant in place.
- Two-stage Reconstruction:
A tissue expander is inserted at the time of the mastectomy – a balloon-like sac that is gradually expanded to allow the skin to stretch over a period of approximately 2 to 3 months. When the skin is sufficiently stretched, a second surgery is performed to remove the expander and place the implant.
Tissue Flap Procedures
A flap of tissue from another part of your body, such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or back, is used to reconstruct the shape of your breast. There are a number of different tissue flap surgical techniques. This surgery can be performed in combination with implants in some cases.
Depending on the type and extent of cancer surgery, your anatomy, and your personal treatment goals, Dr. Christopher C. Chang can custom-tailor a breast reconstruction plan to help you restore your breasts, and your confidence after a mastectomy.