Undergoing breast reconstruction is a significant experience – one which can often help women feel whole and healthy after defeating breast cancer. Following mastectomy, the breasts can be restored utilizing a number of modern techniques. Dr. Wesley Schooler, our board-certified plastic surgeon, will determine which procedure is right based upon expressed wishes and anatomic indications. Ultimately, he strives to provide the most natural-looking results possible.
There are three main approaches to rebuilding the breast mound, and each is dependent upon the unique needs of the patient. Here is a brief overview of the options available for rebuilding the breast mound:
Much like a breast augmentation, implant-based reconstruction utilizes breast implants to help recreate the shape and volume of natural breast tissue. Tissue expanders are utilized to create a pocket for either a saline or silicone implant, and acellular dermal matrices (sterile frameworks of tissue) are used to increase hardiness of the lower half of the breast. Dr. Schooler emphasizes nipple-sparing methods when combining mastectomy and breast reconstruction; however, with modern techniques it is possible to recreate a nipple lost to mastectomy.
In some patients it may be possible to reconstruct the breasts using only natural body tissue. This procedure, known as autologous reconstruction, requires donor skin from another area of the body, such as the abdomen. While necessitating fewer surgeries, autologous reconstruction requires a much longer recovery period. However, it is a popular choice for many patients who do not wish to or cannot have implants as it often offers very natural-looking, natural-feeling results.
Breast Implants Combined with Autologous Reconstruction
A third alternative combines elements of both options: breast implants and natural tissue. With this technique, skin, fat, and muscle is donated – usually from the back, abdomen, or thighs – providing a bed for the implants.
No matter the technique he utilizes, Dr. Schooler’s primary objective for every breast reconstruction is providing results that are as comfortable and natural-looking as possible. If you would like additional information about breast reconstruction procedures, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schooler, please contact us today.