After a woman has had a mastectomy due to breast cancer, the loss of one or both breasts can be difficult emotionally. Dr. Smith uses various surgical techniques to reconstruct breasts at his Okatie practice.
Repairs the self-confidence
A prognosis of breast cancer is terrifying and it seems unfair for a woman to beat the disease, but then have to deal with the loss of a breast. It can leave a person feeling incomplete, with a constant reminder of the disease.
Breast reconstruction restores symmetry and gives a patient back her figure. This allows the person to feel more like herself again and move on with the rest of her life.
Breast reconstruction involves multiple operations. Often the first procedure is performed at the time of the mastectomy. This involves the creation of the breast mound.
The most common reconstruction technique combines skin expansion with the insertion of an implant. Dr. Smith first inserts a balloon expander beneath the skin and chest muscle. Saline solution is injected into the balloon through a tiny valve that remains in place for the next few weeks or months. Over time a little more saline is added, gently stretching and expanding the skin. When the appropriate size has been created, the expander is usually removed and it is replaced with a breast implant. Dr. Smith then reconstructs the nipple and areola.
Another method is to create a skin flap using tissue from another area of the body. This tissue consists of skin, fat, and muscle and is taken from the back, abdomen, or buttocks. This donor tissue is sometimes fully removed and will then need to be reattached to blood vessels, requiring the assistance of a microvascular surgeon. Or the tissue remains connected to its blood supply and is “tunneled” through the body to the chest. Dr. Smith then reconstructs the nipple/areola complex. The goal is to match the other remaining breast (in a single mastectomy), but a perfect match in size, shape, and height is unlikely.
If you’re dealing with breast cancer and wonder about future breast reconstruction options, please call Dr. Smith at (843) 705-8940 to set up a consultation where he can more fully explain your options.