Am I a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world today, and the second most likely to be diagnosed in the United States after skin cancer. How effectively it can be treated depends on a variety of factors, but in the vast majority of cases, removing part or all of the affected breast is necessary to eradicate all traces of cancer. This process is known as a lumpectomy for partial removal, or a mastectomy for full removal of the breast tissue.
While it may only be necessary to remove one breast, many women opt to have both breasts removed at the same time as a precautionary measure against returning cancer. Unsurprisingly, this can have a devastating effect on your confidence and self-esteem, with many women reporting that they feel embarrassed about their body, unattractive, and even depressed following their mastectomy.
What is breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is the name given to the procedure used to restore breast tissue in patients who have undergone a mastectomy, either due to the detected presence of cancer cells or as a preventative measure.
Many people think that mastectomy surgery is only given to patients with a firm breast cancer diagnosis. However, research has shown that some types of breast cancer are hereditary. For example, patients with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are classed as being at high risk of developing breast cancer. As such, an increasing number of women are electing to have their breast tissue removed before they have the chance to develop cancerous cells.
There are varying types of reconstruction procedure possible. Many use skin and fatty tissue from other areas of your body, such as the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Microsurgery is then used to reattach the blood vessels and nerves to tissues in the newly constructed breast, enabling your surgeon to create a living breast that looks and feels both natural and attractive. Some of the most commonly offered techniques include:
DIEP Flap: where skin and tissue to reconstruct the breast is taken from the abdomen
PAP Flap: where the skin is taken from the posterior thigh, giving the patients the benefit of a mini thigh lift as well as new breasts
SGAP Flap: where skin, fat, and blood vessels are taken from the glutes via a small incision on the upper part of the buttock
In addition to breast reconstructions created using your own skin and fatty tissue, it is also possible to undergo the procedure using anatomically-shaped silicone implants. This is often recommended for patients who are considered unsuitable for flap-based reconstructive surgery.
Am I a suitable candidate for breast reconstruction?
Before you can be approved for breast reconstruction surgery, you must first attend a consultation with our surgeon to assess your candidacy for the procedure.
You will need to answer questions about your general health and well-being, and our surgeon will want to examine your body to determine what type of reconstructive surgery may be best for you. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the procedure and make suggestions as to the size and placement of your new breasts.
Many patients are eager to undergo reconstructive surgery as soon as possible after their mastectomy. However, if you have also required additional cancer treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, we will most like recommend that you hold off until your care is complete before undergoing breast reconstruction surgery.
If you have had a mastectomy and would like to restore your breasts to their natural, feminine shape, our expert plastic surgeon would be happy to assess your candidacy. Call Jason K. Potter, MD today at 214-892-2474 to learn more.