Rebuilding a breast can often help rebuild a life.
Breast reconstruction surgery can be performed to recreate and restore breasts that have been removed due to mastectomy or injury, or to correct a congenital abnormality. Breast reconstruction can rebuild one or both breasts to appear as natural as possible in size and shape, restoring balance and contour.
is breast reconstruction right for me?
Breast reconstruction is most commonly performed after a cancer diagnosis and mastectomy. Dr. Collins is an expert in reconstructive surgeries to correct asymmetry, radiated breast tissue, congenital absence or hypoplasia and congenital asymmetry.
There are many variables to consider when deciding upon the best timing and plan for breast reconstruction. If you are facing mastectomy or lumpectomy, it can be a great help to know your breast reconstruction options prior to surgery. Whether you have recently received a cancer diagnosis or are exploring your options long after mastectomy, Dr. Collins and his expert staff will work closely with you to determine the best approach for your reconstruction.
common questions and concerns
Will my breasts look “normal” again? Most common concern for breast reconstruction patients are whether there physical appearance will look “normal” again. Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:
• A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces.
• Visible incision lines will always be present on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy.
• Certain surgical techniques will leave incision lines at the donor site, commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.
Patients will also likely require more than one procedure for optimal results. Breast reconstruction can significantly improve appearance and help to restore body confidence. Most patients find the results rewarding.
what are my surgical options?
Tissue expander: Tissue expansion reconstruction involves the placement of a temporary implant in the breast tissue to slowly stretch the skin before a permanent implant is placed.
During breast reconstruction and breast implant revision surgery, it is often necessary to create an internal bra or “scaffold” to support the implant and hold it in place over time. Seri (from pharmaceutical company Allergan) is a new, recently FDA-approved surgical scaffold. It is great news for women undergoing breast surgery. Seri is a natural bio-textile material, actually derived from highly purified silk. It provides soft tissue support and repair, reinforcing deficiencies. Over time, Seri is fully absorbed. Seri not only integrates with patient tissue, but leaves it stronger – three times stronger – as it absorbs into the body. Dr. Collins often uses Seri during Tissue Expander reconstruction. It produces better results – immediately and over time – and the patient’s recovery time is reduced as less muscle is disturbed.
Latissimus flap reconstruction: This type of reconstruction takes muscle and tissue from the back and rotates it to the chest wall, forming a flap that is used to provide coverage over an implant. A tissue expander is typically placed under the flap initially. After adequate expansion, the expander is removed, and a permanent implant is placed. Nipple reconstruction can be done at the time of flap surgery or delayed and performed at a later time.
TRAM flap reconstruction: During a TRAM flap reconstruction, muscle, skin and tissue are taken from the abdomen and rotated to the chest wall to reconstruct the breast. There are various factors to consider for this type of procedure, and as each patient is unique, Dr. Collins will consult with you personally to identify whether you are a candidate for this type of reconstruction.
Other methods or considerations: On occasion, if a patient is having a lumpectomy, the remaining breast tissue can be rearranged to reshape the breast. Autologous fat injections can also help to correct defects that occur after removing tissue from a lumpectomy. Fat is extracted with liposuction from another part of the body (often the abdomen) and then injected into the breast to add volume.
Patients that choose to have a single mastectomy may benefit from a procedure such as breast augmentation or breast lift (mastopexy) to the opposite breast to achieve better symmetry. Nipple reconstruction may also be performed sometime after reconstruction surgery if desired.