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Breast Reconstruction

After the loss of a breast to cancer, breast reconstruction can rebuild your feminine shape and restore a symmetrical appearance.

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which the breast is removed due to cancer. After you have had a mastectomy, you may choose to have breast reconstruction to rebuild the shape and appearance of the breast and restore a feminine figure.

A lumpectomy is another method for treating breast cancer that is usually combined with radiation therapy. Sometimes lumpectomy and radiation can distort the appearance of the breast. There are options for reconstruction to help smooth the breasts, restore volume, and achieve better symmetry.

Consultation with a plastic surgeon can happen at the time you are diagnosed with breast cancer, so you understand the options for rebuilding the breasts even before you have breast surgery. Some women who are at high risk for breast cancer choose to have preventative removal of the breasts. Many women are able to start breast reconstruction during the same surgery that treats the cancer. If you have already had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, you can meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss your goals for breast reconstruction and what you would like to achieve.

Reconstruction Options to Fit Your Needs

Temple plastic surgeons provide a full range of breast reconstruction options that can help you achieve your desired appearance, including:

Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction

After mastectomy, breast implants can be placed to recreate the breast shape. In most cases, the implant is placed under the skin or pectoral (chest) muscle in a two-part procedure. First, your plastic surgeon will use a device called a tissue expander to make room for the implant. The tissue expander is gradually filled with saline solution during several office visits. Once the chest tissue has been enlarged enough, it will be allowed to heal, and then the expander will be removed and replaced with an implant.

Your surgeon will select the most appropriate implant based on your preferences and medical details. Implant choices may include:

  • Saline implants. Saline breast implants are soft silicone shells filled with sterile saline solution (salt water). Saline implants are easier to monitor in the years after the procedure because it can be detected more easily if the implant ruptures.
  • Silicone implants. Silicone breast implants consist of a silicone shell filled with silicone gel. These feel the most similar to natural breast tissue.

In some cases, such as when a woman has had radiation therapy to the breast, placement of the implant may be combined with transfer of tissue from the back. Implant-based breast reconstruction may be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or after mastectomy and any other necessary treatments have been completed.

Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction

Temple plastic surgeons specialize in microsurgical breast reconstruction, an advanced way of reconstructing your breasts using your own tissue.

In microsurgical breast reconstruction, skin, fat, and sometimes muscle are detached from the original blood vessels and placed at the reconstruction site. Then, the delicate blood vessels are meticulously reattached under a microscope to restore blood circulation in the tissue’s new position.

Microsurgical breast reconstruction has several benefits. Results tend to look very natural over time, because your own tissue has the most natural texture. In some cases, removal of the tissue that is moved to the breasts gives you a tummy-tuck, thigh lift, or butt lift at the same time.

To reconstruct the breasts, tissue may be removed from your abdomen (DIEP, SIEA or TRAM flap), buttocks or hips (IGAP or SGAP flap), thighs (PAP or TUG flap), or combinations of these and other areas. To determine the best location(s) for tissue removal, your surgeon will consider your body shape, your desired breast size and any previous surgeries.

Like implant-based breast reconstruction, microsurgical breast reconstruction may be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or after mastectomy and any other necessary treatments have been completed.

Fat Grafting

If small areas of depressions occur after lumpectomy or reconstruction, living fat cells can be taken from your abdomen, hips, or thighs and transferred to the breasts to restore fullness and symmetry. This procedure usually has less down time and can achieve long-lasting results.

Personalized Care, Experienced Team

Breast reconstruction is a highly personalized procedure, and the plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Temple work closely with a multidisciplinary team of providers — including breast cancer surgeons and treatment teams from other specialties — to help ensure that you receive excellent care while meeting your personal goals for reconstructing your figure and moving forward after breast cancer.

Temple plastic surgeons provide care in a compassionate, private and safe environment. Our team understands the complex details associated with breast reconstructive surgery and helps you achieve your desired result.

Ready for an Appointment?

Find a doctor near you, request an appointment, or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.