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Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy Or Lumpectomy

A woman who has breast cancer and is about to undergo a mastectomy or lumpectomy has a lot on her mind and on her plate. Making the decision to have breast reconstruction is one of the many options before her. She can have the surgery at the same time as her breast removal, wait until later, or not have it done at all. Let’s consider the pros and cons plus the options of breast reconstruction following mastectomy or lumpectomy.

The Simplest Solution Or Decision

If someone is not sure about reconstruction and wants more time to deal with the surgery and its aftermath, she may wait a while. She can then do more research, talk with groups and forums of women who share their own experiences, and of course friends, relatives, and her partner.

There are many options available, and women can still decide to have reconstructive surgery months or years later.

Disadvantages Of This Decision

breast cancer awareness ribbon in front of woman's chest

Waiting to have breast reconstruction can be less successful cosmetically than doing it immediately. In addition, another surgeon may need to perform the reconstruction based on skill and expertise in particular situations.

Implant Reconstruction

Implant surgery is performed by stretching the skin with a tissue extender that goes inside the body. Then silicone gel or saline is implanted a few weeks later.

The expander is filled to a certain volume by adding saline 1 or 2 times a week for several sessions. It is important to talk with Dr. Wendy Gottlieb and get recommendations about which type of implant might be best for you.

Disadvantages Of Implant Reconstruction

The implant can rupture causing pain and or infection, and additional surgery is needed to remove the implant. Saline implants can also cause rippling effects.

Tissue Flap Reconstructive Breast Surgery

With this type of reconstructive surgery Dr. Wendy Gottlieb uses tissue from the abdomen, back, thighs or buttocks to create a mound of tissue for reconstruction. The tissue taken remains attached to its blood supply and it has a greater chance of survival.

Most women find the shape and feel of this tissue is similar to a natural breast.

Free Flap Reconstructive Breast Surgery

Another type of flap surgery is known as a Free Flap surgery where the tissue is separated from its blood supply. It is then reattached to a new blood supply near the site. This is a more complicated kind of procedure, but looks more like a natural breast.

Disadvantages Of Flap Reconstructive Breast Surgeries

There is a chance the blood vessels can get clogged and the flap may not survive with a free flap surgery. This is known as necrosis and more surgery will be needed.

With a tissue flap procedure the appearance may not be as natural.

There will be scars on the breast as well as where tissue was removed in both flap procedures.

Reconstruction After A Lumpectomy

Many women find they are satisfied with their appearance after a lumpectomy, but about 10 to 30% are not. There are several options available to discuss with your surgeon and or plastic surgeon.

A Woman’s Personal Choice

The decision to have or not have reconstructive breast surgery is a very personal one. Plastic surgery to reconstruct a breast is more sophisticated than ever before so women can have confidence if they opt for reconstruction. In addition there are positive psychological effects, but the choice is up to each individual woman.

Contact Dr. Wendy Gottlieb at (703) 668-9499, or request an appointment online, if you have questions about which type of breast reconstructive surgery is right for you.