You may be a candidate for breast reconstruction surgery if you have had a simple mastectomy, total mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, or subcutaneous mastectomy and are missing breast tissue and skin. The goal of breast reconstruction is to create a breast that looks as normal as possible. A good result makes you look normal in clothes or a bra, and reasonably normal without clothes. Another goal of breast reconstruction surgery is a more positive self image. Dr. Soler serves patients in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater areas and is conveniently located just outside of downtown Tampa.Breast reconstruction in Tampa may be accomplished using one of the techniques listed below. Dr. Soler can make a recommendation for you when you visit for a personal consultation.
What is breast reconstruction using an expander?
An expander is placed under the skin and chest muscles. Saline is then injected into the expander over a period of weeks or months. The overlying skin expands and grows with continued expansion. When enough skin is present, the expander is removed and a permanent silicone or saline breast implant is placed. If desired, nipple areolar reconstruction can be completed at a later time. In order to obtain the best possible result, adjustment of the pocket where the breast implant is placed may be appropriate at a future date. Initial discomfort is controlled with oral medication. Light activities can be resumed as tolerated. Aerobic activities can be started in about 4 weeks following the first or second stage of the procedure.
Breast reconstruction – latissimus flap
An oval flap of skin is lifted from the upper outer back and moved beneath the skin, around to the chest to reconstruct the breast. Usually, but not always, a breast implant is placed under the flap to provide the correct volume to the reconstructed breast. The back defect is closed directly. If desired, nipple areolar reconstruction can be completed at a later time. This is a major procedure requiring several days of hospitalization. Discomfort of the back and reconstruction site will be present for several weeks. Full use of the area will require about 6 weeks of healing.
Breast reconstruction – TRAM flap
TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) flap procedure involves using lower abdominal wall fat, muscle and usually skin, and transferring it to the area of missing breast tissue with its own blood supply. The abdominal donor site is closed as in a tummy tuck, leaving a horizontal scar and a tighter abdomen. An attempt is made to create a “normal” breast mound and shape at the first operation, but subsequent smaller procedures are frequently necessary. Nipple or areolar reconstruction is elective and performed at a later date. TRAM flap breast reconstruction is a major procedure requiring at least several days of hospitalization. The patient may begin walking the day after surgery and will be reasonably comfortable within 10 to 14 days. Recovery usually takes about 8 weeks. The abdominal donor site causes the most discomfort during healing.
Breast reconstruction is almost always covered by insurance; however, patients will be responsible for any co-payment or co-insurance amounts depending on their insurance eligibility.
How do I detect breast cancer early?
This year, more than 182,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most common type of cancer among women. Early detection is imperative for properly treating breast cancer.
There are many screening tests for detecting breast cancer early, and depending on your age, you should have them done on a regular basis.
- Self-exam: By the age of 20, you should start doing monthly self-exams. These exams allow you to become familiar with your breasts and quickly detect any lumps or irregularities.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE): Similar to a self-exam, but performed by your doctor. During the procedure, the doctor will look for any lumps, changes, rashes, redness, dimples or any other abnormal changes. Start getting CBEs in your 20s. Women in their 20s and 30s should have this procedure done every three years. Women over 40 should have it done once a year.
- Mammogram: Unless you have a high risk for breast cancer, you can wait until age 40 for a mammogram. This procedure takes an X-ray of your breast and can detect cancer two years before a tumor can be felt. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, start getting this procedure in your 30s.
Breast cancer risk factors
Understanding the risks is also important for catching breast cancer early. Risk factors include:
- Being over age 50
- A mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, especially at a young age
- A personal history of breast cancer in one breast
- Certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Having your first child at an older age
- Never having children
What are 10 breast cancer facts?
Breast cancer affects both men and women. Being proactive is the best course of action, and it involves knowledge and early detection.
Check out these 11 breast cancer facts and increase your knowledge about this common cancer.
The two biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female and aging. Since these two risk factors are unpreventable, early detection is key.
Cancer, most commonly breast cancer, is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States, regardless of age and race. The first leading cause is heart disease.
While breast cancer can affect men and women of any age, the risk increases with age and is more common in women. About 95 percent of cases in the United States are women over the age of 40.
Since 1990, there have been major developments in breast cancer detection, including screening, awareness and treatment. Thanks to these advancements, deaths due to breast cancer are declining.
Breast cancer affects men and women throughout the entire world. Someone is diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the world every 19 seconds.
In the United States, 1 out of every 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime.
Each year in the United States, about 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 40,000 of those women die from the disease.
Breast cancer in the United States takes a woman’s life every 13 minutes.
In 25 years, another 10.6 million women will die from breast cancer if the deaths continue at their current rate.
Despite the high number of diagnoses and deaths associated with breast cancer, there are over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone, making it the largest group of all cancer survivors.
Breast cancer is a deadly disease.
Every woman is at risk, especially as she ages. With the advancements in screening, treatment and knowledge, the deaths have declined, but breast cancer still takes the lives of thousands of women each year.
What is breast cancer reconstruction?
Breast cancer reconstruction is surgery performed to create a new breast after full or partial removal of the breast due to cancer surgery. Dr. Soler’s goal is to create a breast similar in shape and size to your original breast. There are several ways to perform this surgery, ranging in complexity. Dr. Soler will consult with you to understand your unique situation and create a tailored plan to accomplish your specific goals.
*This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to render medical advice.
Schedule your breast reconstruction consultation today
Breast reconstruction is a very personal decision, and not an easy one to make. If you feel breast reconstruction is right for you, contact Dr. Pedro M. Soler today. Schedule a consultation in our conveniently located Tampa office and Dr. Soler will discuss your options with you. Dr. Soler practices private, individualized care and will help you feel comfortable making the decision that’s right for you.