Breast Reconstruction

A diagnosis of breast cancer is a life-changing event.  Luckily, there are a variety of breast reconstruction techniques available to help restore one’s image and self-confidence and make women feel whole again after a mastectomy.  Depending on your cancer diagnosis and clinical situation, breast reconstruction may be performed in an immediate or delayed fashion.  An immediate reconstruction is achieved at the same time as a mastectomy, while a delayed reconstruction may be done approximately three months or longer after the initial surgery.  A reconstruction may be delayed for further cancer treatment and/or to allow for treated tissues to recover prior to your reconstruction.

What is breast reconstruction surgery?

Breast reconstruction attempts to restore a women’s breast following mastectomy or lumpectomy.  This can be achieved using implants, your own tissue (autologous flap), or a combination of your tissue and implants.  A personalized consultation with Dr. Belz will help determine the best options for you and allow you to make an informed decision.

What are my options for breast reconstruction surgery?

Implant-based reconstruction is the most common form of breast reconstruction.  It is typically performed in a staged fashion, with a tissue expander or spacer and acellular dermal matrix placed at the time of mastectomy.  Over several months, the tissue expander is filled in the office.  A second procedure is performed in the operating room to remove the temporary expander and replace it with a permanent breast implant once expansion has been achieved.  This is often done in conjunction with a technique known as fat grafting, which helps smoothen the contours of the reconstructed breast.  On occasion, patients may be candidates for a direct to implant reconstruction.

Autologous-based breast reconstruction uses one’s own body tissue.  This may include tissue from your back (latissimus flap) or abdomen (TRAM or DIEP flap).  Flap procedures are also usually achieved in a staged fashion with a revision surgery performed 3-6 months following the initial reconstruction.

Symmetry or balancing procedures, including a breast lift, augmentation, or reduction, are often necessary on the unaffected breast in situations where a unilateral reconstruction was performed.

Once a patient’s tissue has settled, a nipple reconstruction can be performed using a variety of different techniques.  This is typically an outpatient procedure and usually involves a rearrangement of local tissue.

During your individualized consultation, Dr. Belz will discuss your reconstructive options, the risks and benefits of surgery, and the anticipated post-operative recovery course.

Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Belz. She is ready to provide you with personalized care and a feminine perspective to help you achieve your aesthetic goals.