Each year more than 200,000 American women face the reality of breast cancer. Today, the emotional and physical results are very different from what they were in the past. Great strides have been made in our understanding of the disease and its treatment. New approaches in treatment, as well as advances in reconstructive surgery mean that women who have breast cancer today have new choices.
One of the most rewarding procedures for both the patient and the surgeon is breast reconstruction. Sacramento-area women who have lost one or both breasts as a result of accident, cancer or other disease, can take solace in the fact that there are a variety of cosmetic options available. While it is impossible to give a patient back a natural breast, Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green challenges himself to reconstruct breasts that come as close as possible to matching a natural breast in form and feel.
The type of breast reconstruction that can be performed depends upon your personal taste, body type, age and medical history. If you are faced with the decision of whether or not to have a breast reconstruction, you already appreciate the importance of having a skillful and compassionate surgeon. You want a surgeon who employs advanced techniques, utilizing today’s most recent technological advances. You want to be informed of all of your medical options so that you can make the choice that is right for you, in this very personal decision.
Whether you are undergoing a total mastectomy or a segmental mastectomy to spare some breast tissue, you may wish to request a consultation with Dr. Green to discuss your reconstruction options before your mastectomy. This allows the surgical teams to plan the treatment that is best for you, even if you decide to wait and have reconstructive surgery later.
All About Breast Reconstruction
There are many choices available for breast reconstruction surgery. Together, you and Dr. Green can carefully discuss the available options. Most breast reconstruction involves a series of procedures that occur over time. Usually, the initial reconstructive operation is the most complicated. Follow-up surgery may be required to replace a tissue expander with an implant or to reconstruct the nipple and the areola. Many surgeons recommend an additional operation to enlarge, reduce, or lift the natural breast to match the reconstructed breast.
The patient should appreciate that while surgical technology has created new and exciting advances in this field of medicine, there are still some limitations with the procedure. A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation as a natural breast. And, while it can be difficult if not impossible to detect a reconstructed breast from a natural breast under clothing, it will be distinguishable in the state of undress. The distinct advantages of breast reconstruction include permanently regaining your breast contour, achieving symmetry in your breasts and not requiring an external prosthesis.
The decision of whether or not to undergo breast reconstruction plastic surgery in Sacramento is at its heart a very personal one. But, if you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, or if you require a mastectomy, you may wish to consult with Dr. Green to discuss what options today’s technological advances combined with Dr. Green’s surgical talents offer for you.
How Breast Reconstruction Surgery is Performed
Breast reconstruction surgery involves the placement of either silicone or saline breast implants in Sacramento. One type of breast reconstruction may be done at the same time as your mastectomy. After the general surgeon removes the breast tissue, Dr. Green can place a breast implant where the breast tissue was removed to form the breast contour.
If your skin and chest wall tissues are tight an implanted tissue expander is placed beneath the skin and chest muscle. Over time your surgeon can inject saline into the implant to gradually expand and stretch your skin to accommodate a permanent saline implant. Some expanders may be left in place as the final implant.
Sometimes it is necessary to reconstruct the entire breast. This is done through a variety of flap procedures. These procedures use tissue from your buttocks, stomach, back or thighs. Tissue from these donor sites will include skin, fat, blood vessels and some muscle in order to reconstruct your breast with living tissue. These flaps can be attached to their original blood supply by tunneling it under the skin to the breast area (a pedicle flap) or by surgically removing the flap of skin and placing it in the area of the breast, connecting it through microsurgery to the tiny vessels in its new location (free flap).
After the breast mound has been created, and healing has occurred, another surgical procedure is performed in order to create the nipple and areola. This surgery is done to make the reconstructed breast more closely resemble a natural breast. Nipple and areola reconstruction is an art form requiring detailed attention to symmetry in position, size, shape, texture, pigmentation and projection. Tissue used to rebuild the nipple and areola can be taken from a variety of locations on the patient’s body, including the opposite nipple, ear, buttocks and inner thigh. The nipple and areola can then be tattooed in order to achieve optimal matching and natural pigmentation.
As with any cosmetic surgery, be sure to follow Dr. Green’s instructions regarding taking medications and vitamins, eating, drinking and ceasing smoking. Please request a consultation with Dr. Scott Green to discuss breast reconstruction in Sacramento, or call 916-929-1833 for an appointment.