Surgical reconstruction of the breast seeks to rebuild, reshape and improve the look and feel of the breasts following a mastectomy. To surgically replace a breast a silicon or saline implant may be used or a new breast mound will be constructed using tissue from the patient’s own body. The surgical procedure chosen depends on the patient’s body type and condition, the patient’s age, and the kind of treatment being used for the trauma or disease.
The TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominus) flap procedure uses the rectus muscle and an island of skin from the lower belly to create a new breast mound. This technique allows for breast construction using the patient’s own tissue, eliminating the need for an implant.
The Latissimus Dorsi Flap technique involves harvesting tissue from the latissimus muscle on the patient’s back, which is then used to construct a new breast mound. This procedure is suitable for patients who may have had radiation therapy, but are not candidates for tissue expansions or permanent implants alone.
An updated version of the standard Latissimus Dorsi Flap that uses a new harvesting technique, Endoscopic Latissimus Dorsi Flap can offer a significant reduction of incision size, postoperative pain and scarring. This procedure may require more time than the standard Latissimus Dorsi Flap and is more expensive. The standard Latissimus Dorsi Flap procedure involves harvesting tissue from the latissimus muscle on the patient’s back, which is then used to reconstruct a new breast mound. This procedure is suitable for patients who may have had radiation therapy, but are not candidates for tissues expansions or permanent implants alone.
A tissue expander is a procedure that enables the body to “grow” extra skin by stretching the tissue that is adjacent to the treatment area. A tissue expander procedure offers a near-perfect match of skin color, sensation, and texture. The risk of tissue loss is decreased because the skin remains connected to its original blood and nerve supply and scars are often less apparent.
The new skin that is grown with a tissue expander creates a natural pocket into which a permanent implant can be placed. A tissue expander can be used in combination with treatments such as DIEP Flap surgery. Tissue expansion can take up to three or four months depending on the size of the treatment area.
This procedure immediately follows a mastectomy. Directly after the mastectomy has been performed a piece of surgical material is used to create a pocket under the chest muscle near where the breast used to be. Once the chest tissue has been properly prepared the surgical material is replaced with a permanent implant. It is vital to the procedure that enough skin has been spared during the mastectomy to cover an implant. The timing of this surgery can help improve results and total recovery time and helps alleviate some of the psychological issues that come with losing a breast.
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