Aesthetic Breast Reconstruction – Restorative Options After Breast Cancer
Having started my career in breast reconstruction, I feel strongly that consulting with a plastic surgeon about an aesthetic breast reconstruction should be part of every breast cancer patient’s treatment plan. And it’s shocking how often this is not the case.
Getting the call that you have breast cancer is terrifying. Most patients feel completely overwhelmed, and their first thought is “get this out of me.” I understand the notion. But rushing into a mastectomy or lumpectomy without considering your aesthetic breast reconstruction options may limit what can and cannot be done. The last thing you want is to have regrets down the road.
Knowledge is Power
One of the hardest things for any cancer patient is the loss of control. With one phone call, your life changes dramatically and your body no long feels like your own. You get a ton of information thrown at you at once. And there is often a “ticking clock” feeling.
The important thing to remember is that knowledge is power. It’s also one of the few things that you can control on what oftentimes feels like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Consulting with a plastic surgeon about your aesthetic breast reconstruction options should happen as soon as you are diagnosed. Why? Because it can:
- increase your treatment options
- reduce the number of surgeries you’ll need
- insure that your plastic surgeon & breast surgeon work as a team
- improve your aesthetic outcome
Aesthetic Breast Reconstruction Options
There are two different options for aesthetic breast reconstruction:
- autologous, or tissue-based
Each has its pros and cons. The right one for you is going to depend on your anatomy and aesthetic goals. An implant based breast reconstruction is exactly as it sounds. I use a breast implant to revolumize your breast tissue following a mastectomy. Since breast implants were designed to increase, not replace, breast volume, an implant-based aesthetic breast reconstruction works best in patients with small to medium-sized breasts.
In heavier patients, or those with a DD-sized breasts or larger, I prefer to use a tissue-based reconstruction. In this procedure, tissue is removed from an area of your body where you have too much, often the stomach in a tummy tuck, and this tissue is then used to construct your new breast. Sometimes, I may do a combination of the two. First, I will create the new breast using your own tissue. Then, at a latter time, I will go back in and perform a breast augmentation using a breast implant.