Breast Surgery After Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are planning to undergo a mastectomy as a preventive measure, it is important that you become familiar with the options for breast reconstruction surgery. Following your mastectomy, there are several methods that can be used to reconstruct your breasts. It is important that you discuss your options with a board-certified plastic surgeon as soon following your diagnosis as possible, so you are aware of your options.
When should I have breast reconstruction surgery?
You may choose to have breast reconstruction surgery at any time following your mastectomy. You may even make that decision years after your incisions have healed. There are benefits, however, to choosing to have breast reconstruction at the same time as your mastectomy.
When you opt for immediate reconstruction you will only need to be admitted to the hospital and be placed under anesthesia once, and there frequently smaller scars. Many women say immediate reconstruction makes the process of having a breast removed less traumatic. This is, of course, a very personal decision, and you may choose to have reconstruction whenever you feel you are ready.
What are the types of breast reconstruction?
There are two general types of breast reconstruction performed following a mastectomy. The first is to use an implant to rebuild the breast. The second uses tissue harvested other parts of your body to reconstruct the breast. This is referred to as flap surgery. If only one breast is affected, your surgeon may recommend a breast lift or breast augmentation of the other breast so the two appear as uniform as possible.
What is flap breast reconstruction?
Flap breast reconstruction, also referred to as autologous reconstruction, uses tissue from your own body to rebuild your breast following a mastectomy. With flap breast reconstruction, the tissue may be moved from the abdomen, back, thighs, or buttocks in order to rebuild the breast mound.
Can my nipples be saved?
Your board-certified plastic surgeon will discuss with you whether your nipples can be saved and be part of a breast reconstruction. If your cancer is limited in scope and in the early stages, or near the outer-regions of the breast the chances are better that you will be able to save the nipple structure when performing a breast reconstruction. However, if they cannot be saved, new nipples can be reconstructed with a specialized surgical technique. Once the nipples are reconstructed, you may choose to have the nipple and areola darkened using 3D tattooing techniques for an extremely natural appearance.
Will I need breast reconstruction following a lumpectomy?
Many times, a lumpectomy results in very little scarring and disruption to the surrounding breast tissue. This means that for most women, breast reconstruction surgery is not necessary following a lumpectomy. In the event that more extensive surgery is needed, you may choose to modify the affected breast using a breast lift, reduction, breast augmentation, or through fat grafting. Dr. Chang will discuss with you your options for restoring symmetry following a lumpectomy if you desire.
Why should I choose Dr. Chang for my breast reconstruction surgery?
Dr. Christopher Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon with vast experience in breast reconstruction. Dr. Chang understands the emotional consequences of losing a breast due to cancer treatment. He will carefully and thoughtfully discuss with you your goals for reconstruction and advise you how those goals may best be achieved. As one of the leading plastic surgeons in the Washington D.C. area, you can rest assured that Dr. Chang will perform your breast reconstruction with the precision and care for which he is known.