Breast Reconstruction Candidates
Breast reconstruction pertains to the reconstructing the patient’s breast, oftentimes in women. This may require utilizing autologous tissue or a prosthetic material to make the reconstructed breast appear natural. Implants or transferring flaps of the patient’s tissue are often utilized in this surgical procedure.
The best breast reconstruction candidates are women who underwent surgical removal of the entire breast to eliminate the malignant cysts. This is a procedure called mastectomy. Breast reconstruction can be performed right after mastectomy.
In some cases, however, immediate reconstruction might not be possible especially if the patient manifest indicative medical comorbidities such as being obese, suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or if she smokes. These patients are prone to develop complications. To reduce the risks, reconstruction might be done at a later stage.
Also, if the patient requires a more complex procedure, reconstruction might be delayed. A good example of this is patients who are treated with external beam radiation. The autologous tissue expander and implant method may cause significant risks to the breast reconstruction candidates.
Breast Reconstruction Techniques
The methods of breast reconstruction are numerous and varied. Two of the most common techniques used in this procedure involve:
Tissue Expander – Breast Implants. This is the most common procedure for reconstruction. The method requires the use of a temporary silastic implant which is a tissue expander. A tissue expander is an inflatable expander inserted under the skin that causes continuous tension to the living tissues, making them grow cells or additional tissues, as a result. The tissues grown this way are permanent.
The surgeon needs to inject saline solution to the skin periodically to stretch the skin. When the expander reaches a satisfactory size, the expander may be removed. A permanent breast implant with saline or silicone gel is inserted in the stretched skin pocket to replace it.
Flap Reconstruction. This procedure makes use of tissues from the patient’s body located in other areas such as buttocks, back, abdomen or thigh. The donor tissue might remain connected to the original site to continue its blood supply or it can be severed completely and it will be attached to a new blood supply.
One popular procedure used in flap reconstruction is the latissimus dorsi muscle flap. This is a donor tissue located at the back part of the body of breast reconstruction candidates. This muscle can be moved safely without losing its ability to function. It can be moved to the affected breast without detaching it from its blood supply located under the armpit.
Another common flap procedure is the abdominal flaps. This method makes use of the abdominal tissue found between the pubis and umbilicus area. The tissue in the lower abdomen is effectively removed similar to a tummy tuck. This will actually make the part trimmer and better.
However, a TRAM flap procedure may weaken the abdominal wall. To address this issue, a surgical mesh may be placed on the affected area and sewn into it. The flap procedure can provide enough fat and skin for reconstruction purposes at the same time lessening the risks of morbidity due to transplanting the muscles.
In most cases, breast reconstruction candidates who undergo implant reconstructions will recover faster than those with flap-based reconstructions. Follow-up surgeries are also required in order to create a new nipple and areola. Strenuous activities must be avoided during the recovery period.
Breast Reconstruction – General Information
Breast Reconstruction – Most Common Risks
The Timing of your Breast Reconstruction
Reconstruction With Tissue Flaps
Other Surgical Procedures Related to Breast Reconstruction
Choices in Reconstructive Procedures
Questions You Should ask your Surgeon about Breast Reconstruction
Warranty for Implants
Breast Reconstruction Considerations