With over twenty years in the field of plastic and reconstruction surgery, Dr. Ed Pittman has seen how life changing a diagnosis like breast cancer can be. While survival is rightfully on the top of every woman’s breast cancer to-do list, it’s important to also become educated about your breast reconstruction options so that you can make an informed decision when the time comes to meet your individual needs.
WHEN DO I HAVE BREAST RECONSTRUCTION?
The timing of breast reconstruction surgery is highly dependent on the stage and type of breast cancer you have. If your cancer will not require aggressive chemotherapy or radiation, you may be a candidate for immediate breast reconstruction or oncoplastic surgery. That is, breast reconstruction at the time of mastectomy or lumpectomy. This type of reconstruction will require your reconstructive surgeon to work in tandem with your oncologist.
For others, delayed reconstruction is a better fit. With this type of reconstruction all cancer treatment and cancer removal surgeries are completed before rebuilding the breast. This is often the method elected by patients who undergo extensive radiation as this treatment can affect the appearance of breast tissue and the formation of scar tissue.
WHAT TYPE OF BREAST RECONSTRUCTION DOES DR. PITTMAN PERFORM?
Dr. Pittman uses a tissue expander and breast implant as well as the latissimus flap for breast reconstruction. Because there is usually a limited amount of remaining breast tissue, this process involves placing an empty expander underneath the skin that is slowly filled with sterile saline solution over a few weeks to allow for room to insert a breast implant. Once tissue has been stretched, Dr. Pittman will replace the expander with a saline or silicone breast implant to create more naturally looking symmetry between the breasts. The last portion of breast reconstruction involves reconstruction of the nipple and areola if they too were removed with the cancerous tissues.
Latissimus flap reconstruction is most suited for patients who’ve undergone more extensive radiation during cancer treatment. If not enough healthy tissue remains after treatment for an expander and implant, the latissimus flap method can harvest muscle and skin from the patient’s back to help rebuild the breast mound. The scars from latissimus flap reconstruction are hidden discretely under the bra line.
Similar to breast augmentation, the timing and process of breast reconstruction is different for every patient. Dr.Pittman works closely with breast reconstruction patients to ensure that they’re as physically and mentally comfortable as possible along the way. If you have questions about your breast reconstruction surgery options, or wish to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Pittman’s office.