Breast cancer is a tough battle and for those who survive, the options post-surgery can be daunting. If you’ve had a partial or full mastectomy, you might be wondering what your options are in terms of breast reconstruction surgery. Read on to learn more about whether you are a candidate, what types of surgeries are available and when the timing might be right to visit a breast cancer doctor in Houston.
As always, please use the resources available at the Breast Institute Houston for any questions or concerns you may have.
Is It Right for Me?
Whether or not to have breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision. What might work for one woman, won’t necessarily work for another, and there are other options apart from surgery. Some women choose to use padding or might decide to make no effort to change their appearance. The good news is that surgery has come a long way with options to reconstruct using implants or even a woman’s own tissue.
What Are My Options?
Your options will depend on the type of cancer treatment you’ve had, other health issues and what kind of result you are looking for. Below are the options available:
• Breast implants are probably the most common option for women considering breast reconstruction. The first step in this process is to stretch the skin with what’s called a tissue expander that is placed inside the chest. This tissue expander is then filled to the desired volume by adding a saline solution, typically about once a week. This will take several sessions to achieve the desired result. Several weeks later, a silicone gel or saline implant is inserted.
• Another option is a tissue flap procedure which actually uses a woman’s own tissue that is taken from the abdomen or the back (or in some cases, the thighs or bottom) in order to create a mound in which to reconstruct the breast. Depending on the location from which the skin is taken, sometimes the tissue is kept attached to its blood supply and sometimes it’s disconnected and then reconnected to the blood supply of the new location.
• Some reconstruction patients also might want to consider nipple reconstruction. In most cases, the nipple and areola are removed during a mastectomy in order to lower the odds of the cancer returning. Nipple reconstruction can be done after breast reconstruction is finished, allowing the new tissue to heal and settle into place. Typically, surgeons create the new nipple from the tissue taken from the back or abdomen. The tissue is then tattooed to match the color of a nipple.
What’s the Right Timing?
You should consult with your surgeon to determine the best timing, as it is really based on your medical condition, cancer treatment, as well as the ultimate results you want to see from breast reconstruction surgery. Some women choose to have the surgery performed during the same operation when the breast is removed and some choose to do it months or even years after their mastectomy. If you have already started chemotherapy or radiation treatment, reconstruction is typically delayed until you complete those treatments.
If the decision is made to forgo reconstruction, non-surgical options include getting fitted for a post-mastectomy bra and prosthesis. This is done once the incisions have healed, usually about six weeks post-surgery.
Breast Cancer Doctor in Houston
To learn more about your breast reconstruction options, visit the team at the Breast Institute Houston. You can schedule a consultation, view our picture gallery, meet the team and find more information about all of your breast health options. If you’ve been thinking about whether or not breast reconstruction surgery is right for you, or if you are simply looking for a second option, don’t wait. Schedule your consultation with the premier breast cancer doctor in Houston today.