A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor removes part or all of the patient’s breast. It is usually done to treat breast cancer. In partial mastectomy, the surgeon removes part of the breast. A lumpectomy is a type of partial mastectomy. The surgeon removes the cancerous tissue along with some nearby healthy tissue. In a subcutaneous or “nipple-sparing” mastectomy, the surgeon removes the breast, but leaves the nipple.
A simple or total mastectomy involves removal of the whole breast. In a modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast plus some lymph nodes. In a radical mastectomy, which is the most extreme procedure, the surgeon removes the whole breast, the neighboring lymph nodes and the chest wall muscles under the breast. The latter two procedures are performed in cases in which the cancer has metastasized.
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure done on women who have had mastectomies. The plastic surgeon rebuilds the breast so it will match the remaining breast. They can also add the nipple and its surrounding areola. Breast reconstruction surgery makes a woman’s chest look more balanced and normal. It lets a woman’s clothes hang better. Some patients also claim it helps their back by evening out the weight of the breasts.
When is the Breast Reconstruction Done?
Breast reconstruction can be done almost any time. Some women and doctors prefer immediate breast reconstruction in which they start work on rebuilding a new breast right after removing the cancerous original. Others prefer delayed breast reconstruction in which they wait.
One of the advantages of immediate breast reconstruction is that the surgeon can use the skin left over from the mastectomy and thus produce a more natural-looking breast. However, immediate breast reconstruction is typically not recommended for women who will undergo radiation therapy. Similarly, women who have other health problems besides the cancer also usually have to wait until their health has improved before undergoing breast reconstruction.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries
Breast reconstruction surgeries fall into two broad categories: implant reconstruction and autologous tissue reconstruction. In an implant procedure, the surgeon uses an implant made with silicone gel. The implant can be inserted either right after the mastectomy or at a later date.
In autologous tissue reconstruction procedures, the surgeon uses tissues taken from elsewhere on the patient’s body, like their back or stomach. These procedures require more surgery and a longer recovery than do the implant procedures, but they can also produce more natural-looking results. For example, the new breast will shrink or grow if the patient loses or gains weight.
Learn More During a Consultation
During a consultation at the office of Dr. Wendell Perry, MD in Miramar, you can learn all the facts about breast reconstruction after mastectomy. This simple procedure has helped countless women regain their self-confidence after breast cancer. Our office happily serves the Miami, FL area. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.