With complete or partial mastectomy, women may be informed that they have options for breast reconstruction. If you are considering reconstruction, discuss your options with your mastectomy surgeon and a plastic surgeon who has experience in breast reconstruction before the mastectomy is performed. This makes it possible for your surgical team to plan your treatment, even if you decide to have reconstructive surgery at a later time.
Dr. Albert Andres understands that mastectomy is one of the most difficult things a woman can experience. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Scottsdale with extensive training in reconstructive and plastic surgery of the breasts. Dr. Andres performs breast reconstruction procedures to help women undergoing mastectomy retain the sense of self associated with the feminine body.
Surgical Techniques for Breast Reconstruction
The goal of reconstructive breast surgery is to restore symmetry and, as closely as possible, the feel and appearance of the natural breast. Generally, the two basic options are implant-based breast construction and autologous (using your own tissue) flap-based breast reconstruction. Advanced flap-based surgical techniques include:
• Microsurgical perforator flap: This technique involves removing extra skin and fat from an area of the body without removing the underlying muscle. The abdomen is an ideal donor site for obtaining tissue to reconstruct the breast.
• Latissimus dorsi flap: The latissimus dorsi muscle is located in the back, behind the armpit and just below the shoulder. In this procedure, an oval flap of skin, fat, blood vessels, and muscle from this area is moved under the skin around to the chest for breast reconstruction.
Breast Cancer Patients’ Rights
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that 109,256 breast reconstruction surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2016. Nevertheless, many women who are eligible for breast reconstruction are not informed of their options and do not have the crucial discussion concerning reconstruction they should have had at the time of diagnosis.
The Plastic Surgery society has been working hard to get legislation passed that would ensure that women are educated about their breast construction options. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, passed in 1998, allows for treatment of breast cancer, reconstruction following mastectomy, and any contralateral (on the opposite side of the body) procedure needed for symmetry.
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction
Patients experience many benefits of breast construction surgery, including:
• Improved self-esteem
• Greater self-confidence
• Enhanced femininity
• Greater comfort
• More wholeness with their bodies
When you consult with Dr. Albert Andres before your mastectomy, he will discuss your breast reconstruction options (implant-based and flap-based techniques). He will also discuss the timing of reconstruction and recommend the most appropriate type of reconstruction and timing for you, taking into account:
• Cancer type
• Tumor size
• Lymph node involvement
• Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
• General health
• Other diseases or health conditions
• Personal preferences
If you are dealing with breast cancer and facing a mastectomy, it is important to know your options from the start. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Andres, a top Phoenix breast reconstruction surgeon who will make it a priority to ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment you choose.
• ASPS: Plastic Surgery Statistics 2016
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