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.
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.
Breast Reconstruction Using 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. It is also possible that adjustment of the pocket where the breast implant is placed may be appropriate at a future date in order to obtain the best possible result. 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
A flap of skin is elevated from the upper outer back and rotated to the breast defect. 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
A flap of lower abdominal wall fat, muscle and usually skin, is transferred 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/areolar reconstruction is performed at a later date and is elective. TRAM Flap breast reconstruction is a major procedure requiring at least several days of hospitalization. The patient may begin walking about 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 copayment and/or co-insurance amounts depending on their insurance eligibilities. The specific risks and the suitability of breast reconstruction for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.