What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast Reconstruction is the aspect of Plastic Surgery that treats deformities of the breast due to breast cancer, trauma (accidents), or any other process which significantly alters the shape and/or function of the breast.
The most common indication for Breast Reconstruction is the re-creation of a breast following treatment for breast cancer – such as mastectomy, or lumpectomy (also called ‘segmental mastectomy,’ partial mastectomy, among other names).
There are many options for breast reconstruction and not all patients are candidates for all options. There are many factors which go into determining which reconstructive option is best for you. Some factors are medical – such as whether or not you had radiation therapy, or what stage your breast cancer was. Other factors are more personal – such as your physical and anatomic characteristics and lifestyle.
Being diagnosed with cancer of any kind is a life-changing event, but being diagnosed with cancer of the breast has unique aspects that are not relevant to many cancers. The female breast is an inherent part of a woman’s sense of self as well as femininity. For this reason, a law was passed in 1998 called the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act which requires most group insurance plans to cover breast reconstruction after breast cancer. Visit the American Cancer Society’s website for more information.
Sadly, many women do not know this or are never given the option for reconstruction by their other doctors. Statistically speaking, only about 1 in 5 patients get breast reconstruction.
How does breast reconstruction surgery work?
Using your own tissue: in appropriate candidates, extra abdominal tissue around the waistline can be used to create a breast. In many ways, this is similar to getting a tummy tuck, however, the extra tissue is used to create a breast instead of being discarded. This surgery has many names, commonly referred to as a “TRAM” flap or a “DIEP” flap.
Using implants: in patients who do not have enough abdominal tissue to create a breast, or otherwise prefer not to do that surgery, breast implants can be used to create the breast. Most frequently, you must undergo a period of tissue expansion to stretch the skin you have to create space for the breast implant. Following the tissue expansion, a breast implant is then placed.
Conditions potentially corrected by breast reconstruction surgery
- Mastectomy: a mastectomy is when all of the breast tissue is removed, oftentimes along with the nipple and areola. This is the most common indication
- Lumpectomy (also called partial mastectomy or segmental mastectomy): when only the tumor and some surrounding breast tissue is removed. Oftentimes this can leave a visible “dent” in the breast which can become exaggerated after radiation therapy.
What You Can Expect in Your Initial Consultation
It is very important to Dr. Correa that his patients understand all aspects of dermal fillers before making the decision to move forward with surgery. It is his philosophy that his success as a plastic surgeon is dependent not only on his surgical skills but also his ability to fully understand the needs and goals of his patients. By taking the time to understand each patient’s desires, he can ensure they get the treatment or procedure that is truly right for them.
You will have the opportunity to examine photographs of his other patients who have undergone Breast Reconstruction so you can see his work and know what to expect if you decide to proceed. Dr. Correa will discuss the changes that you can expect to achieve and make recommendations regarding the best surgical methods to use to achieve your goals. You are encouraged to ask many questions and also to share any anxiety you may be having. Attaining your goal is a team effort. You and Dr. Correa must agree on the aesthetics and methods of your surgery so that you can obtain a result that meets or even exceeds your expectations.
How to get started
Many patients get a referral from their breast surgeon for a different plastic surgeon who performs breast reconstruction. However, some patients have undergone their therapy and never had breast reconstruction. Regardless, it is okay to take the initiative and request a consultation directly from breast augmentation surgeon Dr. Correa.
Breast reconstruction is a very complex process and it can feel overwhelming to try and figure out what is best for you and what to expect. However, you do not need to do this all on your own and Dr. Correa takes pride in his ability to explain your options in a way that allows you to make your decision with confidence.
Take The First Step
Interested in learning more about Breast Reconstruction? Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Correa by filling out the form on this page or by calling Correa Plastic Surgery at (281) 419-9119. Proudly serving patients in The Woodlands & Houston, TX.