Reconstructing The Breasts After a Mastectomy
1 out 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life. For these unfortunate women, a mastectomy may be necessary to remove cancerous tissue and prevent the spread of cancer throughout the body. Women who undergo a mastectomy are often left with very little breast tissue, disproportionate breasts, or breasts that differ greatly in size. For these women, a customized breast augmentation can provide volume and improve the proportions of their breast to make them appear identical or better than they did before developing breast cancer. It is for this reason, that breast reconstruction is the most popular reconstructive surgery in Michigan.
There are many reconstruction techniques used to restore breasts after a mastectomy. There are treatment options that use prostheses (implants), others that use the patient’s own tissue and others that use both. Some of the most recent techniques are fat grafts; particularly useful in cases of partial mastectomies also known as quadrantectomies.
The technique used will depend on the type of Mastectomy and additional treatments that you have taken. Depending on the type of technique chosen, the reconstruction will be carried out in one intervention or in several (rarely more than three). It is usually performed under general anesthesia and requires hospital admission or admission into a surgery center from a private plastic surgery clinic in Michigan. In certain situations it is advisable, to improve the symmetry and the final aesthetic result, to perform some work on the breast that has not been mastectomized.
It is important to keep in mind that this type of surgery does not hinder the proper monitoring of your disease.
The reconstruction of a breast that has undergone a mastectomy is possibly one of the most rewarding plastic surgery operations along with reduction mammoplasty. The refinement of surgical techniques and the introduction of new types of implants make it possible to “recreate” a new breast with very natural characteristics. Despite being able to obtain very good results, breast reconstructions are not simple procedures, since it requires a high degree of planning. Each case involves a particular surgical approach and because the symmetry between the mastectomized chest and the healthy one must be maintained.
Candidacy for the procedure
Virtually any woman who has already mastectomized or who is going to undergo a mastectomy may be a candidate for breast reconstruction in Michigan. Undoubtedly the best candidates are those who have the disease limited to the breast and do not require subsequent therapy such as radio or chemotherapy.
Once a mastectomy has been performed and you need additional treatment such as radio and/or chemotherapy, you should wait to finish these treatments in before you undergo breast reconstruction.
On many occasions, by medical decision or by the patient, the reconstruction is performed months or years after the mastectomy was performed. In particular cases, breast reconstruction can be performed in the same surgery that the mastectomy is performed.
How the procedure works
It is an intervention relatively similar to breast augmentation for purely aesthetic reasons. It involves the placement of an inflatable implant under the thorax musculature. This implant is essentially an empty silicone prosthesis that, once implanted, is filled with serum throughout the successive postoperative weeks until reaching the desired size. The inflatable implant is subsequently replaced by a final prosthesis in a second operation. There are currently “definitive” or “mixed prosthesis” expanders that do not need to be replaced once the desired volume has been reached since they contain internally a defined volume of silicone.
Reconstruction using your own tissue has the advantage of being a simpler procedure and with shorter recovery time. Once the stable size is achieved (either with the definitive implant or with the mixed implant) the reconstruction of the areola and the nipple is planned.
Reconstruction with flaps:
By this technique, the tissue needed to reconstruct the breast is taken from distant areas on the body. It consists of portions of skin, fat, and muscle that are transferred from the abdomen or back to the thorax, where it is remodeled to form a breast without the need, in some cases, to use a prosthesis (implant). The reconstruction technique with flaps is a more laborious procedure, leaves more scars and requires longer recovery time.
The TRAM flap technique:
The intervention is similar to that performed to correct abdominal flaccidity known as abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck in Michigan. The portion of skin and fat that remains between the navel and the pubis is transferred to the thorax where it will be shaped like a breast. The defect of the abdomen is closed by stretching the abdominal skin.
Latissimus dorsi flap:
In this technique, a portion of skin, fat and the underlying latissimus dorsi muscle are taken to move it to the thorax. Normally this operation requires the use of breast implants to give volume because the flap is usually not enough.
This procedure has great utility in those patients in whom the residual thoracic skin after the mastectomy is of poor quality, or has been injured by radiotherapy.
This involves the combination of flaps with implants. It is usually used in thin patients with problems in the skin and the thorax musculature. Once the mastectomized breast is reconstructed, the reconstruction of the areola and nipple is performed at during a second surgery.
Reconstruction using fat micrografts
In selected cases, a reconstruction can be performed using fat micrografts. The technique consists basically of making progressive fillings by injecting adipose tissue extracted from the patient using liposuction. By means of this technique, all the problems derived from the use of breast implants are avoided, and the intervention is less aggressive (it is carried out with local anesthesia and sedation) and the recovery period is shorter. The use of fat grafts is especially useful in cases of radiodermatitis and quadrantomies or partial mastectomies.
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