While a mastectomy is the right choice for many women with breast cancer, it can affect your perception of yourself and make you feel less feminine.
Dr. Anya Kishinevsky, serving Bridgeport and Norwalk, CT, can perform a breast reconstruction procedure to help you feel like yourself again.
Is breast reconstruction right for you?
Breast Reconstruction Provides Several Important Benefits:
Restore Lost Tissue
When a mastectomy is performed, some or all of the breast tissue must be removed. Breast reconstruction can recreate the breast mound, restoring balance between your breasts and a more feminine figure.
Some patients feel self-conscious about undergoing a mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can help improve your body image and self-confidence. These positive effects can also contribute to your well-being.
In some cases, breast reconstruction can be completed at the same time as your mastectomy. However, this will depend on your circumstances and determined by your doctor.
How does breast reconstruction work?
A Customized Procedure
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 women face the reality of breast cancer each year. Based on current breast cancer rates, it is estimated that 12.7 percent of women who are born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute. Many of these women will undergo mastectomy (removal of breast due to cancerous or pre-cancerous cells) to prevent or treat their breast cancer.
Advances in plastic surgery have made it possible for individuals who have undergone a mastectomy to re-create a natural-looking appearance and regain self-confidence through breast reconstruction surgery. Plastic surgeon Anya Kishinevsky has tremendous experience with breast reconstruction surgery. She has been trained in the most up-to-date breast reconstruction methods by surgeons who are among the top in their field. She is also well known for her gentle and precise technique, which minimizes trauma and pain and offers a speedier recovery.
At her Norwalk office, serving Bridgeport and surrounding areas, she offers a variety of breast reconstruction techniques. These techniques include using saline, silicone, or Spectrum™ breast implants, or incorporating microsurgical techniques with muscle flaps, to provide optimal results. Microsurgery is advantageous because it requires less removal of abdominal wall-supporting muscle, and has a lower risk for a hernia. Muscle flap techniques, including TRAM, DIEP, and latissimus dorsi flaps are also beneficial because they produce a softer, more natural result. Reconstruction through muscle flaps is also more desirable for women who wish to receive a tummy tuck. Dr Kishinevsky is also skilled in performing oncoplastic reconstruction to improve the appearance and correct asymmetries of the breast after a lumpectomy or a partial mastectomy. Patients are pleased with the lifted, more youthful appearance of the breast with this approach.
Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction
For the majority of busy, active women, the most frequently performed breast reconstruction in the United States is with expanders and implants. This is the simplest breast reconstruction with the quickest recovery time. Breast implants also allow patients to have the breast size of their choice and not be limited to the amount of fat in their abdomen, like in a TRAM flap. During the breast implant reconstruction procedure, an empty implant called a tissue expander is inserted into the breast area, which is filled gradually each week. The tissue expander slowly stretches skin and muscle tissue to accommodate any size implant the patient chooses without developing stretch marks. Later, the breast implant can be placed in one surgical procedure, and if desired, another operation can be performed to re-create the nipple and areola. In some cases, the expander step may be skipped for a quick, one-stage reconstruction. Implant-based breast reconstruction surgery allows for the patient's natural curves to be restored, resulting in added confidence and an improved quality of life.
Breast reconstruction with implants is not for everyone. If you have had or will have radiation therapy, your may have an elevated risk of complications with implant reconstruction.
TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous) flap breast reconstruction is a muscle flap technique that uses muscle, skin, and fat from the abdominal area. The muscle flap can be rotated into place or transferred microsurgically to create a new breast mound.
TRAM Flap Reconstruction Procedure
A TRAM is a muscle flap that takes skin and fat from the belly along with the rectus muscle and moves it up to create a new breast mound. During the TRAM flap breast reconstruction procedure, one side of the abdominal muscle is folded and passed under the skin to the breast reconstruction site. This technique allows the blood vessels from the muscle to remain intact to provide blood to the newly created breast. The result is a breast with a natural shape and feel.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction
Latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction is a technique that uses the muscle running beneath the armpit and diagonal across the back to recreate the breast. It is a great technique for women who do not have much abdominal fat, but still desire the superior softness and natural contour that a muscle flap offers.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap Reconstruction Procedure
The latissimus dorsi breast reconstruction is usually performed with an implant. Once muscle tissue has been transferred, it is formed into the desired shape and the muscle is used to cover the implant. Latissimus flap reconstruction combines the softness and natural feel of a muscle flap with the versatility of an implant, an excellent option for many women.
DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
Patients in and around Norwalk, Fairfield, and Bridgeport can also opt for DIEP flap breast reconstruction, one of the most advanced breast reconstruction surgery techniques.
DIEP Flap Reconstruction Procedure
DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) breast reconstruction is a free flap technique that uses fat and skin from the abdominal area to reconstruct the breast. Its advantage is that little to no muscle flap is removed from the abdominal wall. During the DIEP flap procedure, an incision is made along the bikini line, and a portion of abdominal skin and fat are removed. The skin and fat are then placed into the breast area to form the desired shape and attached microsurgically to an artery and vein in the underarm or chest. Next, the abdominal area is tightened and the incision is closed. Due to its complexity, this procedure may take from four-to-eight hours per breast.
DIEP Flap Reconstruction Results
Patients achieve a reconstructed breast that is soft and natural looking after the DIEP flap procedure. Also, since muscle tissue is not used during surgery, DIEP flap breast reconstruction allows for a faster recovery of abdominal strength. To find out if you are a good candidate for DIEP flap breast reconstruction, contact Dr. Kishinevsky to set up a consultation.
A newer method of breast reconstruction has recently become available with a shorter recovery time and less risk than some of the other more traditional reconstructions. Fat can be harvested via liposuction from the abdomen or thighs, purified, and transferred to the breast for reconstruction. A typical reconstruction using this method requires three to five treatments. Many patients are happy to use their own fat for a natural feeling breast reconstruction. To find out if you are a good candidate for Fat Transfer, contact Dr. Kishinevsky.