Breast Cancer Reconstruction Following Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction is option for women who suffer from or is at high risk for breast cancer and requires a mastectomy (removal of the breast) for treatment of their condition. Surgical breast reconstruction typically occurs immediately or soon after surgery. Some women may chose to delay their surgical reconstruction several months to years after their mastectomy. During reconstruction, Dr. Chivers recreates a patients breast shape using an artificial implant, a flap of tissue from another area in the body or both.
There are two main types of breast reconstruction.
Implant reconstruction – involves the insertion of an implant filled with silicone gel or sterile saline (salt water) or a combination of both.
Flap reconstruction – involves the use of tissue transplanted from another part of your body (belly, back or thigh) to replace the tissue removed from your breast.
The need for nipple reconstruction depends on the type of surgical procedure performed. In some cases a nipple-sparing mastectomy is performed and your own nipple is preserved. However, in situations when the nipple is removed, reconstruction of the nipple will help restore the appearance of your breasts.
What you should be aware of
While breast reconstruction rebuilds the shape of the breast, it doesn’t restore sensation to the breast or the nipple after a mastectomy. Over time, the skin over the reconstructed breast can become more sensitive to touch, but it would not be the same as It was before surgery.
Alternative to Breast Reconstructive Surgery
An alternative to surgical breast reconstruction is the use of prosthetics. A prosthesis, also called a breast form, can help women looked balanced without surgery. A prosthesis is a good alternative to women who want to hold off on reconstruction or chose to not have it at all.