Breast Reconstruction Techniques
The most common technique for post-mastectomy reconstruction is the insertion of an implant after a balloon expander has stretched the skin over the breast enough to allow room for an implant. Through a tiny valve beneath the skin, salt-water solution is periodically injected into the expander over many weeks or months. After the skin over the breast area has stretched enough, a more permanent implant is inserted.
An alternative approach to implant reconstruction involves the creation of a new breast by surgically moving a section (flap) of skin, fat, and muscle from another part of the patient's body - usually from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or upper back.
The flap procedure is much more complex than skin expansion. Scars are left at both the tissue donor site and at the reconstructed breast, and recovery takes longer than with an implant. On the other hand, when the breast is reconstructed entirely from a woman's own tissue, the results are generally more natural.
It is recommended to consult your board-certified surgeon who will advise you of which breast reconstruction technique will be the most appropriate option for you.
Breast Reconstruction Benefits
After completion of the reconstruction process, doctors may recommend further operations on the healthy breast to match it to the re-built one. Most women with breast cancer say that breast reconstruction with implants after mastectomy has helped their recovery by restoring a more natural appearance and a sense of wholeness. The ultimate result helps to restore the patient's physical appearance and to improve her self-confidence and overall quality of life.