Thanks to modern technology, a woman who must undergo a mastectomy (or the removal of one or both breasts in the treatment of breast cancer) can opt for breast reconstructive surgery to construct a natural looking breast that mirrors the form and appearance of their original breast.
Candidates for breast reconstruction include women who have had a mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer, or who will be undergoing a mastectomy in the future. The reconstruction procedure is commonly undergone immediately after the mastectomy and thus is appropriately named an immediate breast reconstruction. Alternatively, a woman may opt for breast reconstruction months or even years after mastectomy, especially if radiation of the chest is needed as part of the cancer treatment.
There are many different approaches for reconstructing a new breast mound, and so the specific techniques used can be tailored to the individual needs of the patient. Often, breast reconstruction is accomplished through the insertion of saline or silicone breast implants. Depending on the laxity of the patient’s skin and muscle, it may be possible to insert a breast implant between the layers of chest muscle and under the breast skin that is preserved during the breast cancer surgery, but where the remaining skin is insufficient, expandable implants or a tissue expander may be needed before the breast implant can be inserted safely.
A natural looking breast can also be reconstructed with a flap of living tissue taken from other parts of the patient’s own body, such as the abdomen, back, hips, thighs, and buttocks. Most commonly, this is done by forming a TRAM flap (or Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle flap) from muscle, tissue, and fat that has been moved from the patient’s abdominal area. Atlanta Plastic Surgery co-founder, Dr. Carl Hartrampf, Jr., originally developed the TRAM flap operation decades ago and it remains the preferred technique for natural tissue breast reconstruction in Atlanta and around the world. A breast mound can also be formed by using a latissimus dorsi flap, which moves tissue from the lower back, and patients who are concerned about muscle loss in the abdominal area can also opt for a DIEP flap (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator flap), which is similar to a TRAM flap but leaves the abdominal muscle intact.
After the breast mound has been created, your surgeon can also reconstruct the nipple area with a procedure known as areolar reconstruction, using tissue taken from the newly created breast, your other nipple, the ear, eyelid, groin, upper thigh, or even buttocks. Tattooing may also be recommended to match the color of the original nipple and to create the areola.
We understand that breast cancer or other debilitating diseases can be the fight of a lifetime. That is why we are committed to advancement of the latest and safest technology in breast reconstruction surgery. In fact, every year Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. surgeons participate in the annual Atlanta Breast Symposium, during which the latest innovations in reconstruction and cosmetic breast procedures are presented by surgeons from around the globe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Reconstruction
View Breast Reconstruction photos and learn more about this procedure such as costs, risks, advanced techniques and frequently asked questions. Breast Reconstruction can be scheduled at our office locations in Atlanta, Cumming / Forsyth, and Northside / Sandy Springs, Georgia.
The following doctors perform Breast Reconstruction at Atlanta Plastic Surgery. Click on a doctor to learn more about their practice and to view Before & After breast reconstruction surgery photographs.