Breast reconstruction surgery is a complicated surgical procedure involving several operations to recreate the breast that has been removed due to cancer or other disease. The reconstructed breast can mirror the form and appearance of a natural breast.
The loss of breasts is tremendously stressful for every woman. Breast reconstruction surgery can help you feel normal again. It can help you feel more comfortable about your looks and restore confidence in your sexuality*.
Dr. Kevin Tehrani is an expert aesthetic breast reconstructive surgeon with many years of experience in the field. He will work closely with your oncologist in order to ensure that your breast reconstruction is not only aesthetically pleasing but also medically sound.
Who is a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Candidates for breast reconstruction surgery include women who have had a mastectomy or who are scheduled to have a mastectomy. Breast reconstruction is sometimes performed at the same time of mastectomy, in which case it is called immediate breast reconstruction. In other cases, it may be performed months or years after mastectomy, in which case it is delayed breast reconstruction.
The Breast Reconstruction Procedure
There are different breast reconstruction surgery procedures, but mainly two classes. One technique combines skin expansion and the subsequent insertion of a breast implant. The other uses living tissue taken from other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, back, hips, thighs, and/or buttocks.
Dr. Tehrani is especially trained in and prefers the use of the patient’s own tissues to rebuild the breast whenever possible. This breast reconstruction surgery technique is called TRAM flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap) and has been a breast reconstruction surgery standard for years. The TRAM flap uses one of the sit-up muscles partially to supply the blood flow to the overlying skin and fat that will be used to form the breast. The muscle does not contribute to the size or shape of the breast – it only contributes to its blood supply.
The number of procedures required for your breast reconstruction will vary depending upon the amount of skin and tissue that remains after your mastectomy.
Tissue Expander and Implants After Bilateral Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
In a traditional mastectomy, the nipple and areola (the dark skin around the nipple) is removed. In a nipple-sparing mastectomy, the nipple and areola are preserved along with some of the surrounding skin. This can often be done in collaboration with your oncologic breast surgeon.
A tissue expander, which is an inflatable device that is inserted at the same time as the mastectomy, is then used to stretch the skin and muscle so that it is large enough to accommodate an implant. This process takes a few weeks to months. A sterile salt solution is periodically injected into a valve within the expander to gradually expand it further and stretch the tissue.
Once the skin and muscle have been sufficiently stretched, the expander can be removed, and the breast implants can be inserted to complete the breast reconstruction procedure.
Breast Augmentation after Prophylactic Mastectomy
Recovery from Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Recovery depends a great deal on your particular case. You will, of course, need some time off work, and you will experience significant swelling, bruising, and soreness. We will provide pain medication to help you through the healing process, and you will have follow-up appointments with Dr. Tehrani to monitor your recovery.
*Individual results may vary
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