Breast Cancer Reconstruction Plastic Surgery | Diep Flap
Breast Reconstruction Surgery in Dallas | Texas | Fort Worth | New Mexico | Oklahoma
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy can be the important first step in recovering from breast cancer. Regardless of type or timing of the breast reconstruction, there is certain information that all women should consider when making these important decisions.
Breast Reconstruction is Optional
In general, breast reconstruction is an elective process. Some women will decide to only undergo mastectomy without reconstruction. Other women will decide to have their reconstruction performed at a later time. For most women, multiple options will exist for reconstruction. Because of all the decisions that need to be made (sometimes in a short amount of time), it is very important that the patient have a good relationship with her Surgical Oncologist and Plastic Surgeon so she can be well informed about her choices and make the decision that is best for her.
In general, no woman has two breasts that are exactly the same. We all have small amounts of asymmetry in our bodies, and that is also true in breast reconstruction. Although it can never be guaranteed that a woman will be “symmetric” after undergoing the breast reconstruction process, a reasonable goal is to bring any asymmetries to a level that is acceptable for both the patient and the Plastic Surgeon. Our general goal is to maximize the functional and cosmetic outcome of the patient.
The main goal of breast reconstruction is to allow a woman to wear clothing that fits well and evenly without the use of an external prosthesis. The presence or absence of visible scars will depend on the type of mastectomy the woman has and what type of reconstruction is performed. In general, most scars are concealed below even low cut outfits and a majority of women can wear swimming suits without scars being evident.
The secondary goal of breast reconstruction is to have the woman look as good naked as possible. To do this, nipple reconstruction and tattooing should be considered, and frequently surgery to the other (non-cancer) breast might be considered to lift the breast to allow for better symmetry. Some women will decide to go through all stages, including nipple and tattooing, while others might want only the breast mound created. These decisions are made after thoughtful discussions with the Plastic Surgeon.
Number of Surgeries
Although some women might need only one surgery to get them to their goal of reconstruction, it is not uncommon for women to undergo a smaller secondary surgery, also known as a “revision” or “stage two,” to help balance out the reconstruction, or to create nipples. Revision surgery is usually a small outpatient procedure with minimal downtime. If a woman has a nipple reconstruction, tattooing of the nipple and areola pigment is performed at a later time in the clinic.
Regardless of the method of reconstruction (implants or a woman’s own tissue), there are no absolute guarantees of success. The major types of reconstruction each have their own unique risks of failure which will be fully discussed by the Plastic Surgeon. In properly selected patients, the success rate of implant based reconstruction is 95-98%, and the success rate of natural reconstruction using a patient’s own tissue is greater than 99%.