What Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery typically falls into one of two categories: implant-based and flap-based. While implant reconstruction relies on breast implants to form a new breast, flap (or autologous) reconstruction uses the patient’s donor tissue from another part of the body. During your pre-op consultation, Dr. Egozi will help you determine which type is best for you based on mastectomy type, cancer treatments, and your body type.
The goal of breast reconstruction surgery is to restore one or both breasts as closely as possible to their regular shape, look, size, and symmetry post-mastectomy, lumpectomy, or due to congenital asymmetry. The surgery usually involves multiple procedures, which can either commence at the time of your mastectomy or be delayed until later.
Are You a Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
You may be a good candidate for breast reconstruction surgery if:
- You are coping well with your diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer
- You do not have additional medical conditions that could delay healing
- You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breasts
- You understand that you may have incision lines on the breasts and at the donor site(s) post-op
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
1) Restores proportion
Post-mastectomy, it’s normal to feel like your body has lost its balance and its feminine proportions. Breast reconstruction surgery can rebuild your contours so you can once again feel comfortable in fitted clothing and bathing suits.
2) Restores self-confidence
The breasts are an important facet of a woman’s femininity, self-image, and sexuality, and their loss can be devastating. Many women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery can experience an improvement in mental health, renewed confidence, and an ability to move on after cancer.
3) Permanent results
Regardless of what type of breast reconstruction surgery you opt for, the procedure offers results that are dramatic, long-lasting, and even permanent for many women–eliminating the need for additional surgeries down the line.
4) Variety of surgical options
There are many different breast reconstruction surgery options available, from when to perform the surgery to the technique used. A variety of options means the surgery can easily be tailored to your unique needs, ensuring you get positive results on your own terms.
How Much Does Breast Reconstruction Cost?
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act requires all group health plans which cover mastectomies to also cover reconstructive surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery post-breast cancer is considered a reconstructive procedure and should be covered by your health insurance. However, always consult with your insurance company first, as your coverage may only be partial.
How Is a Breast Reconstruction Procedure Performed?
There are many different types of breast reconstruction procedures, so your procedure’s details can vary widely depending on the surgical option you and Dr. Egozi select.
The procedure might involve tissue from the back, buttocks, or belly to form a breast mound. The most common technique, however, uses silicone breast implants. Breast reconstruction surgery typically involves two or more operations.
What Are the Different Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
There are many factors for you and your doctor to consider when thinking about what type of breast reconstruction surgery best suits your needs. The different techniques are as follows:
1) Breast reconstruction with implants
Breast reconstruction surgery with implants is usually possible if your mastectomy or radiation therapy left sufficient tissue on the chest wall to support and cover an implant. Numerous techniques can be used for implant-based reconstruction.
An immediate breast reconstruction above the pectoral muscle is performed at the same time as a mastectomy, resulting in an immediate breast mound. An immediate breast reconstruction below the pectoral muscle is similar, only the muscle on top of the implant can help prevent upper pole wrinkling.
There are several other ways of performing implant-based breast reconstruction surgery as well, both during a mastectomy and afterward.
2) Breast reconstruction with abdominal-based flaps
A mastectomy or radiation therapy can sometimes leave insufficient tissue on the chest wall to support a breast implant. In such cases, your breast reconstruction surgery typically requires a flap technique.
The most common flap technique uses lower abdominal skin and fat to create a breast mound. The skin and fat used are found between your navel and pubic bone. Once this tissue is taken, it’s common to have a scar from hip bone to hip bone and around the navel.
Several different flap techniques use tissue from the lower abdomen–the difference between them pertains largely to the specific blood vessels which supply the flaps.
3) Breast reconstruction with thigh-based flaps
Thigh-based flaps can be a good option for women with small to medium breasts or women without enough donor tissue in the lower abdomen. For larger-sized breasts, the flaps can be combined with an implant or an additional flap.
During the procedure, a flap containing skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels from the upper thigh is moved to the chest to rebuild the breast mound. Blood vessels are carefully reattached via microsurgery. DR. Egozi’s precise choice of incision site will depend on your unique thigh shape.
4) Breast reconstruction with gluteal-based flaps
Gluteal-based flaps can also be a good option for women with small to medium breasts. They use skin and fat from the buttocks. SGAP stands for Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator, which is located in the upper buttock.
During a SGAP flap procedure, a flap of skin, fat and blood vessels is moved from the buttocks to the chest to rebuild the breast mounds. Blood vessels are then meticulously reattached via microsurgery. As with all the breast reconstruction surgery options available on this list, there are many different possibilities as to where the incision for your gluteal-based reconstruction will be located. All of this will be thoroughly discussed during your consultation.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery Recovery
Following your breast reconstruction surgery, gauze or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may need to wear an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support your reconstructed breasts. A thin tube may be temporarily placed underneath your skin to drain excess blood and fluid.
Dr. Egozi will give you instructions on how to care for your surgical site(s), medications to take, and symptoms of concern to watch out for. Your healing will continue for several weeks while swelling subsides and your breast shape gradually improves. Be sure to attend all scheduled follow-up visits!
Why Choose Dr. Egozi as Your Breast Reconstruction Surgeon?
Dr. Egozi has been running a respected practice for 15+ years. With his expertise in a wide range of aesthetic procedures–from noninvasive to surgical, you’re always in great hands. Egozi Plastic Surgery facilities are state-of-the-art, and we are proudly counted among the foremost Surgical Centers offering breast reconstruction surgery in the Tampa Bay area.
To learn more about your breast reconstruction surgery options in Tampa Bay, schedule a consultation with Dr. Egozi today!