Your Reconstruction Options After Mastectomy

October 15, 2017


breast reconstruction patient

breast reconstruction patientChoosing to undergo a breast reconstruction is a decision that merits serious consideration. You may know right away that reconstruction is right for you, but when it comes to picking the kind of surgery you want, there are new factors at play. Since every woman’s experience with their mastectomy is different, there are many types of reconstruction surgeries that are suited to different women’s bodies and health. Certain procedures will be a better fit for women who are still receiving radiation therapy, for example, while others may be better for women who underwent a double mastectomy. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your options with you during your initial consultation. You can expect to hear about three main kinds of reconstruction surgeries: implant reconstruction, tissue transfer reconstruction and a combination of the two.

Implant Reconstruction

An implant reconstruction works much the same way as a breast augmentation: you choose the type of implant you want — silicone or saline — and your surgeon uses the implant to restore volume to your breast area. If you are having your reconstruction after you have fully healed from a full mastectomy, your surgeon will likely use a multi-step process called tissue expansion for your implant reconstruction. During tissue expansion, a temporary saline device is inserted into your breast area and gradually enlarged over the course of several weeks. When it has expanded to create a space the same size as your desired implant, the temporary implant is replaced with a permanent one.

Implant reconstructions are a common choice because they are more widely available, and the procedure itself is less invasive with shorter recovery times. Additionally, the results of an implant reconstruction are highly customizable and very symmetrical. However, this kind of reconstruction also has some downsides: implants usually need to be replaced after some time, so you will likely need surgery in the future to replace them; and if you are still undergoing radiation therapy, you will have a higher chance of your body forming distorting scar tissue around your implant or other complications.

Another factor to consider is that for women who have had a single mastectomy, using an implant often makes it difficult to achieve symmetry with the remaining natural breast. Typically, surgeons will recommend reshaping your natural breast with a combined breast lift and implant so that it matches your new breast.

If you enjoy the perky, symmetrical look of breast implants; if you do not feel comfortable with the extent of a tissue transfer surgery; and if you are not undergoing radiation therapy, this kind of procedure may be a good option for you.

Tissue Transfer Reconstruction

These procedures are widely thought to create a more natural-looking breast that, in the long run, comes with fewer risks. Tissue transfer uses tissue from elsewhere on your body — typically the abdomen, buttocks or upper back — to rebuild your breast or breasts. There are two types of tissue transfer: pedicle flap transfer, which moves the new tissue to the site of the breast under the skin so that it does not detach from nerves and blood vessels; and free flap transfer, which fully detaches the tissue and relocates it to the breast area.

These procedures are more involved than implant reconstruction, which results in a few considerations. First, finding a qualified surgeon can be a little harder; second, your procedure will be longer and more invasive; and third, the site of your tissue removal will need to heal along with your new breast, which means recovery times tend to be longer and riskier. But for many women, the pros of tissue transfer outweigh the cons. You do not need to worry about concerns that come with implants like distorting scar/contracture, rupture or replacement. Since your new breast is made of your body’s own tissue, the likelihood of long-term complications is very low, even if you are still undergoing radiation therapy. Your breast will also feel more natural since it is made out of natural tissues, and it will change with your body the way a natural breast would. And, if you underwent a single mastectomy, it is often easier to match the new breast to your remaining breast with this kind of procedure.

One other consideration with a tissue transfer reconstruction is that creating a new breast requires removing a significant amount of tissue from somewhere else on your body. If you do not have sufficient extra tissue to spare, you may not be able to undergo this kind of reconstruction unless you are able to gain weight before your surgery.

Tissue transfer surgery might be right for you if you prefer a very natural look and feel over the appearance of implants; if you have enough body tissue to rebuild breasts in a satisfactory size and shape; and if you are healthy enough to undergo a more involved procedure and can take the time away from work to recover.

Combination Reconstruction

Using a combination of implants and tissue transfer is highly customizable, and your procedure will vary based on your needs and your surgeon. In some cases, it will involve a tissue transfer to ensure that there is enough skin and fat to cover a full-sized implant. More commonly, it will involve a smaller tissue expansion process that makes room for an implant to supplement natural tissue transfer.

Since this kind of procedure does involve some amount of tissue transfer, it is still a more invasive procedure with a longer recovery time when compared to implant reconstruction. However, transferring smaller amounts of tissue and boosting breast size with a small implant may be less risky for some women than using tissue alone. Additionally, using a smaller implant that is well-covered by muscle and can also reduce some of the risk associated with rupture or contracture.

This kind of reconstruction can be a great option for women who prefer the look and feel of tissue transfer but do not have enough natural body tissue to create a new symmetrical breast (in the case of a single mastectomy) or to create two new breasts (in the case of a double mastectomy). It also makes sense for women who want implants but do not have enough fat and skin tissue over their breast area to expand and cover an implant in the size they want.

Restoring women’s confidence and sense of wholeness after breast cancer and mastectomy is rewarding and humbling. At Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we are dedicated to helping women find a reconstruction procedure that will give them the results they want. We are proud to provide reconstruction surgeries that we tailor to each of our clients’ needs. If you are interested in learning more about the breast reconstruction procedures that we offer, contact us at 319-382-8230.

-->

June 26th, 2013

Dr. Andrews is an artist. His academic credentials are second to none. You can see that sensibility in every aspect of his practice, and his life. His outcomes are exceptional, and there isn’t a surgeon anywhere that I trust more.*
2015-02-10T19:25:22+00:00
Dr. Andrews is an artist. His academic credentials are second to none. You can see that sensibility in every aspect of his practice, and his life. His outcomes are exceptional, and there isn’t a surgeon anywhere that I trust more.*

May 27th, 2013

I am beyond happy with my results. I had extra skin hanging from my abdomen after gaining weight from pregnancies. Dr. Andrews was compassionate and understanding about how this affected me and my self-esteem.*
2015-02-10T19:25:46+00:00
I am beyond happy with my results. I had extra skin hanging from my abdomen after gaining weight from pregnancies. Dr. Andrews was compassionate and understanding about how this affected me and my self-esteem.*

May 27th, 2013

I can now wear bikinis! I continue to work out and can finally see the results of my hard work. Thank you Dr. Andrews – a California gem in the midwest!*
2015-02-10T19:26:11+00:00
I can now wear bikinis! I continue to work out and can finally see the results of my hard work. Thank you Dr. Andrews – a California gem in the midwest!*

June 1st, 2013

Dr. Andrews is one of the best plastic surgeons I’ve worked with! His patients are very pleased with their results. I highly recommend him!*
2015-02-10T19:26:35+00:00
Dr. Andrews is one of the best plastic surgeons I’ve worked with! His patients are very pleased with their results. I highly recommend him!*

Jan 24th, 2013

Dr Andrews was wonderful!! Great Guy… awesome job on my reconstruction!!*
2015-02-10T19:26:55+00:00
Dr Andrews was wonderful!! Great Guy… awesome job on my reconstruction!!*

Nov 2nd, 2012

I had suffered debilitating Hidradenitis. He gave me the ability to have a normal life again. My scars look amazing and he was able to close with the most beautiful lines! He was such a caring doctor who is so gifted. I hope to follow his practice wherever he may go!*
2015-02-10T19:27:28+00:00
I had suffered debilitating Hidradenitis. He gave me the ability to have a normal life again. My scars look amazing and he was able to close with the most beautiful lines! He was such a caring doctor who is so gifted. I hope to follow his practice wherever he may go!*

Oct 29th, 2012

Dr. Andrews was the absolute best doctor for me - very informative, sensitive, and caring with just the right amount of humor during the appointments.*
2015-02-10T19:27:54+00:00
Dr. Andrews was the absolute best doctor for me - very informative, sensitive, and caring with just the right amount of humor during the appointments.*

Extraordinary doctor

Before saying that you are an extraordinary doctor, I want to tell you that you are an extraordinary human being. Thanks for showing me so much care and concern.*
2015-03-30T12:00:04+00:00
Before saying that you are an extraordinary doctor, I want to tell you that you are an extraordinary human being. Thanks for showing me so much care and concern.*

You Rock!!

I wanted to write you a thank you letter because I would never be able to find the words to say how much I appreciate everything you did for me. Thanks to you I can feel normal and not always worry if people will find out about my problem. I can’t even begin to say thank you enough or to show my gratitude. You’re an amazing person, wonderful doctor, and my hero. All in all, you ROCK!!!*
2015-03-30T12:00:42+00:00
I wanted to write you a thank you letter because I would never be able to find the words to say how much I appreciate everything you did for me. Thanks to you I can feel normal and not always worry if people will find out about my problem. I can’t even begin to say thank you enough or to show my gratitude. You’re an amazing person, wonderful doctor, and my hero. All in all, you ROCK!!!*

You all are the best!

Thank you so much for ALL of your help in my recovery thru “sometimes emotional” journey with my cancer. You all were always professional and took the time with my long list of questions. I can n0t thank you enough! Easter is my favorite time of the year and I pray God will continue to strengthen your gift and skills in healing because you all are the best!*
2015-03-30T12:02:02+00:00
Thank you so much for ALL of your help in my recovery thru “sometimes emotional” journey with my cancer. You all were always professional and took the time with my long list of questions. I can n0t thank you enough! Easter is my favorite time of the year and I pray God will continue to strengthen your gift and skills in healing because you all are the best!*

Amazing!

I’m ecstatic with my new body. It is PERFECT! I can’t even put in wordshow we feel, You are so compassionate unlike any Doctor I’ve met. I realize I’ve been a needy patient and you handled me well. You’ve gone above and beyond with me after hours for medications and issues. Also more quotes than necessary, but you did it! Your work ad attentiveness to my expectations I can’t say enough!! Now to pu the finale pictures in your gallery to show how complete I am now! You are AMAZING! Thank You! It’s been a very long, hard journey! Now to live life with the new ME!*
2015-03-30T12:02:20+00:00
I’m ecstatic with my new body. It is PERFECT! I can’t even put in wordshow we feel, You are so compassionate unlike any Doctor I’ve met. I realize I’ve been a needy patient and you handled me well. You’ve gone above and beyond with me after hours for medications and issues. Also more quotes than necessary, but you did it! Your work ad attentiveness to my expectations I can’t say enough!! Now to pu the finale pictures in your gallery to show how complete I am now! You are AMAZING! Thank You! It’s been a very long, hard journey! Now to live life with the new ME!*

With appreciation

With appreciation for putting me back together!*
2015-03-30T12:02:40+00:00
With appreciation for putting me back together!*

I am forever grateful

I consider myself blessed to be under your care as I navigated the stormy sea of breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, reconstruction, and recovery. I cannot thank you enough and am so pleased with the results! You have all been wonderful, and I will miss seeing you even though I am thrilled to be healed and moving on! The impact you have on patients who are scared and overwhelmed cannot be overstated...and I am forever grateful.*
2015-03-30T12:03:02+00:00
I consider myself blessed to be under your care as I navigated the stormy sea of breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, reconstruction, and recovery. I cannot thank you enough and am so pleased with the results! You have all been wonderful, and I will miss seeing you even though I am thrilled to be healed and moving on! The impact you have on patients who are scared and overwhelmed cannot be overstated...and I am forever grateful.*

Thank You

Thank you. For me, you are as similar as God because you created me again. It’s an amazing feeling. I feel my earlier life back again. Once again thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.*
2015-03-30T12:03:24+00:00
Thank you. For me, you are as similar as God because you created me again. It’s an amazing feeling. I feel my earlier life back again. Once again thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.*

April 12, 2016

Since my hysterectomy, sex has been extremely painful. I suffered from extreme dryness and discomfort. I had no sex drive and was no longer able to experience an orgasm. Until, recently, when a friend told me about Courtney Albritton and PCI's ThermiVa treatment. I have had 2 of the 3 treatments and immediately experienced positive results. I am still in awe of the results I have experienced. The procedure was painless. Until ThermiVa, I had come to the realization that my sex life would no longer be what it once was pre-hysterectomy. I highly recommend this procedure.*
2016-05-05T11:40:35+00:00
Since my hysterectomy, sex has been extremely painful. I suffered from extreme dryness and discomfort. I had no sex drive and was no longer able to experience an orgasm. Until, recently, when a friend told me about Courtney Albritton and PCI's ThermiVa treatment. I have had 2 of the 3 treatments and immediately experienced positive results. I am still in awe of the results I have experienced. The procedure was painless. Until ThermiVa, I had come to the realization that my sex life would no longer be what it once was pre-hysterectomy. I highly recommend this procedure.*

I am a patient at Dr. Andrews!

I am a patient at Dr. Andrews! I highly recommend utilizing their services. Very thorough consultations, educational and informative. They give you lots of options to fit your needs and guide you through it. Amazing staff that is highly trained with the most up to date procedures and tools. I can't say enough about Dr. Andrews and his amazing staff!*
5.0
2016-09-28T15:22:01+00:00
I am a patient at Dr. Andrews! I highly recommend utilizing their services. Very thorough consultations, educational and informative. They give you lots of options to fit your needs and guide you through it. Amazing staff that is highly trained with the most up to date procedures and tools. I can't say enough about Dr. Andrews and his amazing staff!*

January 11, 2017

Dear Dr. Andrews,
Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me and my family. You are trustworthy, kind and personable. We really appreciate you and your talent. Thank you!*
5.0
2017-01-11T13:02:59+00:00
Dear Dr. Andrews, Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me and my family. You are trustworthy, kind and personable. We really appreciate you and your talent. Thank you!*

Amy Bonney Cejka

Just had my surgery from Dr. Andrews and everything is great!! He is the most kindest Dr. ever!*
5.0
2017-01-22T15:30:46+00:00
Just had my surgery from Dr. Andrews and everything is great!! He is the most kindest Dr. ever!*

You change peoples’ lives!

You change peoples’ lives! Words cannot express how much I love my new girls! Thank you so much for giving me exactly what I wanted. You are amazing!*
5.0
2017-02-24T14:28:06+00:00
You change peoples’ lives! Words cannot express how much I love my new girls! Thank you so much for giving me exactly what I wanted. You are amazing!*
1.0
19

Events

Check out the latest events that are being offered by Dr. Kahlil Andrews and his outstanding team. We look forward to seeing you in attendance.

Contact Us






Contact Physicians Clinic of Iowa