A mastectomy is a surgery that is used to remove the breasts to prevent or treat breast cancer. There are a lot of women all over the world that may have to undergo the procedure, and many of them experience a loss in femininity once the procedure is over.
Fortunately, women who experience this have the option to rebuild the removed breast with a breast reconstruction procedure. The breasts can be rebuilt using silicone or saline implants. They can also be rebuilt with the help of autologous tissue. The surgery can be performed in conjunction with a mastectomy or it can be done once you have recovered.
How Are Implants Used to Reconstruct the Breast?
Your surgeon will insert the implant underneath the chest muscle. He will then save the breast skin during the mastectomy and reuse it during the reconstruction. The procedure can be divided into two stages:
- First, your surgeon will place a tissue expander under your skin after the mastectomy. The expander will then be filled up with saline during your periodic follow-ups.
- Once the tissue has healed and relaxed, the expander is carefully removed and replaced with a saline or silicone implant.
Some surgeons use an acellular matrix as a sling or scaffold to support the implants and tissue expanders. The matrix is a mesh that is fashioned out of donated pig or human skin that is completely sterilized and processed to eliminate all cells. This is done to avoid the risks of infection and rejection.
How Will the Surgeon Reconstruct your Nipples?
Once the chest heals after a reconstruction and the new breast is stabilized, the surgeon will reconstruct the nipples. The nipple is usually created by moving epidermal pieces from the reconstructed breast to the site of the nipple and shaping it into a new nipple.
A few months after the reconstruction, your surgeon will proceed to recreate the areola. This is generally done with the help of tattoo ink. In rare cases, skin grafts might be taken from the abdomen or groin to recreate the areola during nipple reconstruction.
Does the Reconstruction Make It Difficult to Check for Recurrence of Breast Cancer?
Studies have demonstrated that a reconstruction surgery doesn’t increase the chances of breast cancer or make it hard to check for a possible recurrence with the help of a mammogram. If the breasts were reconstructed using autologous tissue, then it is possible to have a mammogram done on the reconstructed breasts as well.
If you have an implant, then you should let your radiology technician know beforehand. You might need special procedures to improve the accuracy of the mammogram and avoid any damage to the implant.
Contact Our Office
A breasts reconstruction can help give back your feminine look. If you’re interested in the procedure and the benefits it can provide, you should contact us to schedule a consultation. With the help of a board-certified plastic surgeon like like Dr. Alexander Golger, your questions and concerns will be addressed and your procedure will carry very little to no risks.