One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The treatment for this typically is a mastectomy or complete removal of the breast. Depending upon the stage of the breast cancer, this can be preceded by or followed with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both. At our practice, we strongly believe that every woman should be offered the option of breast reconstruction to help restore their sense of femininity and well-being.
Most breast cancers are found with screening mammograms or by feeling a lump in the breast. At that time, most women will be evaluated by their OB/GYN or primary care doctor. Biopsies are then performed of the breast mass to make the diagnosis. If the biopsy confirms cancer, the patient is then referred to a breast surgeon, where options for surgery are discussed. This can include complete removal of the breast (mastectomy) or partial removal of the breast tissue (lumpectomy).
“I am very pleased with the care that was provided by Dr. Ravi. He and everyone in his office are wonderful examples of professionalism. From the initial appointment to the procedure and follow up, I felt I was treated with nothing but respect. Dr. Ravi’s care, skill and compassion are sometimes difficult to come by in medicine. I’m thrilled with my results.”
After removal of the breast cancer, most breast surgeons will refer the patient to a plastic surgeon for reconstruction. If you have not been referred by your breast surgeon or your doctor to a plastic surgeon to be given the options for reconstruction, call our office today to make an appointment to meet with our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons to discuss your options.
The options for breast reconstruction are divided into two types. The first is tissue expander staged implant reconstruction and the second is autologous reconstruction. The decision as to which is the best option for you is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending upon whether the patient requires radiation therapy, etc.
With the two stage expander reconstruction, the plastic surgeon will place a fluid-filled balloon underneath the pectoralis muscle, typically at the same time the breast surgeon performs the operation to remove the breast. Afterward, the patient visits the plastic surgeon’s office weekly or every other week to fill the balloon. Once the balloon or tissue expander is filled to the appropriate size, typically 2-4 weeks after the final fill, the patient returns to the operating room where the tissue expander balloon is removed and the final breast implant is inserted. The size and shape of the new breast implant typically determines the new breast size. This is decided in the office through a discussion with the patient and the plastic surgeon prior to the second stage.
The second option for reconstruction is autologous reconstruction. This simply means that instead of using a two stage balloon implant to reconstruct the breast, the patient’s own belly muscle, fat and skin are used to make the new breast. This is known as the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap or, more commonly, the TRAM flap. Another option is to use the patient’s back skin and muscle usually with an implant. This is called the latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap. The decision on which option will be used is based on a case-by-case basis. Typically, but not always, autologous reconstructive breast surgery is reserved for patients who have either had or will need radiation treatment for their breast cancer.
If you or anyone you know has a breast cancer diagnosis, please call our office today to schedule an appointment with our board certified plastic surgeons. Our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate staff will discuss all your options in detail to provide you with the best possible reconstructive cosmetic outcome.
Legislative efforts by breast cancer groups have mandated that any women diagnosed with breast cancer have all their operations, including the removal and reconstruction of the breast, covered by their insurance for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, many women do not even know that they can have breasts again after they have been removed. Some women are even discouraged not to proceed with reconstruction. You have a right to seek and be seen by a plastic surgeon to discuss these options in detail. We believe no woman should be refused the right to regain her femininity and have breasts after breast cancer.
- Have you been told that you will require complete or partial removal of your breast?
- Have you seen a breast surgeon?
- Have you or anyone you know been diagnosed with breast cancer?
- Have you been given the option for breast reconstruction and referred to a plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction?