Aesthetic breast reconstructive surgery is a very important part of the healing process for mastectomy patients. The skill, compassion, and artistry of your plastic surgeon greatly affects your recovery and outcome. Breast reconstruction following mastectomy has been a passion of internationally known, double board-certified Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Jay Orringer for more than 30 years.
He considers it a privilege to share in the healing journey following mastectomy and reconstruction.
Breast Reconstruction Options
In general terms, breast reconstructive options include the use of breast implants, the use of the patient’s own tissues (autologous tissue) or a combination of the two (a hybrid reconstruction). Implant procedures are simpler, but generally less natural than options that use your own tissues. In addition, implants require maintenance (replacement) over time. Transfer of tissue often involves the use of excess tummy tissue. The tissue usually discarded in a tummy tuck is, instead, used to create a soft, permanent new breast using techniques of microsurgery to perform the transfer. When the transferred tissue is taken from the abdomen, this is called a DIEP flap. Many patients are pleased with the tummy tuck effect. When tissue is transferred from the upper buttock it is called an SGAP flap. This results in a more lifted buttock.
Many mastectomies today are done with nipple-sparing, and the reconstructions often look much more natural as a result. Whether the reconstruction requires two or more steps depends upon the type of reconstruction and the first-stage result. Dr. Orringer will spend considerable time with you discussing a variety of options and helping you to arrive at an individualized plan with which you are most comfortable.
Perfect symmetry cannot be achieved. However, in the unilateral (one-sided) reconstructive setting, use of one’s own tissue often produces the best symmetry, possibly with a lift on the opposite side. If an implant is used to reconstruct one breast, augmentation of the opposite remaining breast will often be recommended to improve overall symmetry.
If radiation is anticipated, a temporary implant called a tissue expander will often be placed to keep the skin of the breast stretched during and following radiation therapy. After typically six months following completion of radiation therapy, second-stage reconstruction is often performed. While an implant might be placed, use of your own tissue often achieves a more natural, comfortable, and permanent result following radiation. Implants tend to form firmer scar tissue around an implant following radiation (capsular contracture). Still, an implant might be used after initial healing from radiation.
To learn more about breast reconstruction options, schedule your individualized consultation with Dr. Orringer by calling 310-273-1663 or using our contact form. Dr. Orringer welcomes patients from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Newport Beach, Northern California, across the nation and throughout the world.