Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure often performed after a mastectomy to offer patients psychological and aesthetic benefits when recovering from breast cancer. This procedure allows many women to fully return to the life they enjoyed before being diagnosed with breast cancer, with barely any signs of the disease remaining. This procedure may also be performed to correct congenital or traumatic deformities or any other condition that may result in breast deformity.
For many women, breasts are an important symbol of femininity that helps define their self-confidence and body image. The emotional effects of an altered appearance can be as psychologically damaging as the condition or injury that caused it. Breast reconstruction serves to restore a woman’s body to its original condition after the treatment of breast cancer.
What Are My Breast Reconstruction Options?
There are two basic types of breast reconstruction: those that use a breast implant to replace the removed breast tissue, and those that use skin and fat from another area of the body (known as autologous tissue). With both procedures, there are several different modifications that can be made to best suit the individual patient’s needs. Many women choose autologous breast reconstruction when possible to avoid the need for foreign substances. Dr. Trussler will help you choose which type of breast reconstruction is most appropriate for your individual condition.
Although breast reconstruction is a beneficial procedure for many women, it is not right for everybody. In order to undergo any kind of breast reconstruction surgery, women should be in good general health and able to handle the stress of a surgical procedure. Certain factors may increase your risk of complications with breast reconstruction surgery, and it may be best to postpone this procedure until risk factors are reduced.
The results of breast reconstruction vary depending on the patient’s individual case and the type of procedure used. Breast reconstruction using a perforator flap often produces the most natural-looking results through a safe, effective procedure. While we strive to achieve the most natural-looking results for each patient’s reconstructive procedure, reconstructed breasts will not have the same sensation and feel of a real breast. It is important for patients to remember this and to have realistic expectations before undergoing the reconstruction procedure.
Autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction uses a flap of the patient’s own skin and fat from another part of the body, with or without the underlying muscle, which is transported to the chest to create the reconstructed breast. This flap may remain attached to its original blood supply or can be reattached to another part of the body. There are several different types of flaps that can be used during breast reconstruction depending upon the condition of the breast area after the mastectomy.
A perforator flap is an advanced breast reconstruction technique that allows a woman to achieve successful reconstruction through the use of her own abdominal or buttock tissue, without the need for muscle or implant use. This technique creates a breast that is soft and warm and can restore a woman’s natural, healthy body image.
Excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen (deep inferior epigastric perforator, or DIEP) or buttocks (gluteal artery perforator, or GAP) is transplanted to the chest wall area to reconstruct a new breast. A perforator flap reconstruction is performed by transplanting the skin and fat with its own set of blood vessels, which have been carefully separated from the muscle. This allows for less pain and quicker recovery with no reduction of function.
Breast Reconstruction Recovery
Most patients are highly satisfied with the results of their tissue-based breast reconstruction, as they are able to achieve breasts that look and feel natural, with or without the use of implants. Scars usually heal well after surgery and will fade over time to become less noticeable. The recovery time after surgery will vary depending on the type of procedure performed and each patient’s individual condition, but most patients will be able to resume most regular activities after four to eight weeks.
Whether you have a question or would like to set up a consultation, Dr. Trussler and his staff are here to help. Please fill out our contact form, or call our office at (512) 450-1077 to schedule an appointment. Start your journey to not only looking but feeling better today!