For many women, breast reconstruction is an important part of the healing process following a mastectomy. If you choose to have breast reconstruction, you will have several options when it comes to the technique used to restore the appearance of your breasts.
Breast Reconstruction Options
Flap reconstruction may be required if you do not have sufficient tissue left after a mastectomy. TRAM flap reconstruction involves taking muscle, fat, and skin from another part of the body to recreate the breast mound. Blood supply from the donor tissue will either be left attached, redirected through the chest wall, or detached.
A DIEP flap is similar to TRAM flap but does not take any muscle from another part of the body. Instead, only skin and fat are transferred to the breast area. Common donor sites include the buttocks and thighs where there is extra fat present. By avoiding muscle transfer, a DIEP flap reconstruction often involves a shorter breast reconstruction recovery.
If you have enough tissue in the breast area, you might choose to restore your breasts with implants. Before the implant can be placed, you will need to have a tissue expander placed under the breast muscle to create a large enough pocket. Over the course of a few months, the expander will continue to be filled with saline until there is enough room for the implant to be placed. The expander will then be replaced with your new implant! While the reconstruction process is longer than flap techniques, recovery is often easier.
For women who were not candidates for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, there are a few techniques that can be done during your breast reconstruction to restore the appearance of a nipple and areola. This usually involves folding the skin to create the shape of a nipple. After healing from breast reconstruction, women can have the nipple and areola tattooed to give the appearance of projection.
To learn more about your breast reconstruction options, contact our office today! We can schedule your consultation with Dr. Taylor.