Restore Lost Volume, Size and Shape with Breast Reconstruction
Dr. Jain has a personal passion for helping patients who require breast reconstruction in the Columbus, GA-area. Reconstruction of a breast that has been removed due to cancer is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures available today – both for the patient and for Dr. Jain and Dr. Prendergast. New medical techniques and devices have made it possible to create a breast that can come extraordinarily close in shape, size and appearance to matching a natural breast.
The best candidates for reconstruction are women whose cancer, as far as can be determined, seems to have been eliminated by mastectomy.
Planning Your Surgery
Frequently, reconstruction can happen at the same time as a mastectomy, so the patient wakes up with a breast mound already in place, having been spared the experience of seeing herself with no breast at all.
However, many women aren’t comfortable weighing all their reconstruction options while they’re struggling to cope with a diagnosis of cancer. Others simply don’t want to have any more surgery than is absolutely necessary. In any case, being informed of your reconstruction options, before breast removal surgery, can help you prepare for a mastectomy with a more positive outlook for the future.
Ideally, you’ll want your breast surgeon and Drs. Jain and Prendergast to work together from the beginning to develop a strategy that will put you in the best possible condition for reconstruction.
After evaluating your health, Dr. Jain or Dr. Prendergast will explain which reconstructive options are most appropriate for your age, health, anatomy, tissues and goals. Most breast reconstruction involves a series of procedures that occur over time. Usually, the initial reconstructive operation is the most complex.
Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Jain and Dr. Prendergast, as they will be equally frank with you as they describe your options and the risks and limitations of each procedure.
Post-mastectomy reconstruction can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence, but keep in mind, the desired result is improvement, not perfection. Patients who understand the recovery process and limitations to the procedure are usually very pleased with their results.
There are multiple options available for post-mastectomy reconstruction. You and the doctors will select the one that’s best for you.
- Skin Expansion/Implant Reconstruction – During this procedure, Dr. Jain will insert a balloon-like tissue expander beneath your skin and chest muscle. Through a tiny valve mechanism buried beneath the skin, he will periodically inject a saltwater solution to gradually fill the expander over several weeks or months in an effort to stretch the skin over the breast area. After the skin has stretched enough, the expander will be removed in a second operation and a permanent saline or silicone implant will be inserted. The nipple and the dark skin surrounding it, called the areola, will be reconstructed in a subsequent procedure.
- Flap Reconstruction – An alternative/supplementary approach to implant reconstruction involves the use of a woman’s own muscle, fat and skin from the back (latissimus dorsi flap) or abdomen (tram flap) to create a breast mound or, more commonly, to cover and support a breast implant.
Flap reconstruction surgery is more complex than skin expansion. Scars will be left at both the tissue donor site and on the reconstructed breast, and recovery will take longer than with a skin expansion implant.
With either option, follow-up surgeries will be required to replace a tissue expander with an implant or to reconstruct the nipple and the areola. In cases during which only one breast requires reconstruction, many surgeons recommend an additional operation to enlarge, reduce, or lift the natural/unaffected breast to match the reconstructed breast.