Breast cancer is an unfortunate and prevalent disease affecting hundreds of thousands of women a year. Of the surgical options, the most common surgical treatment offered to patients is a mastectomy or removal of the breast(s). What most women facing breast cancer and the potential of having a mastectomy or mastectomies are not aware of is that breast reconstruction is an option to help restore her sense of femininity and confidence. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as breast cancer removal (immediate) or at a later time (delayed). Therefore, the involvement of a plastic surgeon during the considerations of treatment is a vital component of the breast cancer treatment and recovery process.
Several different types of reconstruction may be considered, including reconstruction with implants, with your own tissues (autologous or flap-based), or with a combination of the two.
Dr. Hendrick offers breast reconstruction with saline or silicone implants. Immediately after the mastectomy or in a delayed fashion a tissue expander is placed beneath the muscles of the chest wall and wounds allowed to heal. Then during regular clinical visits, the tissue expander is slowly filled with saline to stretch the overlying tissue. Once the tissue is stretched to the appropriate size, Dr. Hendrick then performs a second surgery to replace the tissue expander with an implant.
Autologous Tissue Reconstruction
Autologous breast reconstruction is surgery which utilizes your own tissue to reconstruct the breast(s). This flap-based surgery can be performed simultaneously with the mastectomy procedure or in a delayed fashion. This type of reconstruction involves using tissue or muscle in a pedicled or free-flap fashion to transfer the patient’s own tissues to the breast to re-create a breast mound. The type of flap and availability of tissue varies from patient to patient; therefore, Dr. Hendrick will provide each patient considering flap-based surgery the appropriate assessment and extensive education to help chose the best reconstruction for each patient.
Nipple and Areola Reconstruction
Patients, who have lost their nipple and areola complex to breast cancer, may have this reconstructed if desired. Dr. Hendrick can use a variety of techniques to reconstruct the nipple and areola of the breast. This procedure can be performed using local anesthesia within the office eliminating the need for downtime. In addition, nipple and areola tattooing are options to restore pigment to the area. Dr. Hendrick and his staff will be happy to assist you in finding a tattoo artist that specializes in breast reconstruction tattooing.
Contact the New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery today to find out more about breast reconstruction surgery.