What is Breast Reconstruction?
The professionals at Partners in Plastic Surgery of West Michigan understand that the loss of a breast to breast cancer can be an emotional and traumatic event in a woman’s life. Many types of procedures are now available to women in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for breast reconstruction after a complete or partial mastectomy. Current techniques of breast reconstruction may help improve your self-confidence and self-image, thus improving your quality of life. Careful patient evaluation is necessary to choose the “right” procedure for each individual patient.
Our plastic surgeons understand that every case is different and strive to give you exceptional personal care. We have extensive experience with this procedure, have board-certified anesthesiologists on staff, and perform a number of reconstructive breast surgeries in our fully accredited facility. However, all initial or immediate reconstructive procedures are performed in the hospital at the same time as your mastectomy. To learn more about breast reconstruction, request a consultation online or call us at (616) 464-4420.
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Before Choosing Breast Reconstruction
There are many different types of breast reconstruction procedures available. The best procedure for you depends on the type of surgery you’ve had on your breasts, characteristics of your breast cancer including its location and size, and your personal preferences about each of the different procedures.
You should decide about reconstruction only after getting complete information about all alternatives. Your doctor will review information with you about your mastectomy or partial breast removal and discuss the options available for breast reconstruction. After the initial examination, he or she will recommend the most suitable option for your breast reconstruction.
Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of mastectomy if your breast surgeon in Grand Rapids, MI feels that the type and size of your breast cancer is appropriate to allow immediate reconstruction. Otherwise, reconstruction can begin after an appropriate delay of 3 months or longer depending on other necessary treatment. In many cases a delay may allow tissues to recover and be healthier for the reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction restores components of your breast that were lost during mastectomy. Our surgeons use a number of reconstructive techniques following mastectomy. You may be a candidate for all reconstructive options, depending on your health, body type and your personal choice. A breast reconstruction consultation with our plastic surgeons is highly personalized and our staff takes extra care to help you make an informed decision.
Reconstructive procedures may involve breast augmentation with implants at our Grand Rapids surgery center. We can also use your own natural body tissue or a combination of both methods. Body tissues used for breast reconstruction, known as “flaps,” may come from either your back muscle (latissimus dorsi flap) or from your abdomen (TRAM flap). The TRAM flap uses excess tissue from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the entire breast, simultaneously improving both areas. In patients who opt for partial mastectomy and who also have large, heavy breasts, we may perform simultaneous breast reduction surgery as a means of immediate reconstruction. This is called an oncoplastic breast reduction.
After reconstructing the breast mound, the tissue is allowed to “settle” to its final shape and position. Then, the best location for the nipple is determined and nipple-areola reconstruction is completed. Nipple-areola reconstruction is usually performed as a day surgery or outpatient procedure 4 to 6 months after the mound reconstruction. Your doctor will discuss the options and techniques for nipple-areola reconstruction during your consultation after determining available options.
A new diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming. The surgeons at Partners in Plastic Surgery have long term relationships with Grand Rapids’ general surgeons who are most often planning and completing the mastectomy portion of surgery. These skilled surgeons communicate and work together to create a full reconstruction plan that is based on you and your body. There is no such thing as “typical” when it comes to reconstruction. Dr. Hammond, Dr. Van Pelt and Dr. Kath have the experience to understand your situation, the relationships to work with your other doctors and a knowledgeable staff that is with you every step of the way.