Breast cancer is a tragedy that affects the lives of nearly 200,000 American women every year. Although the survival rate for breast cancer is relatively high, it often comes at a very personal cost. For many women a diagnosis of breast cancer can mean not only radiation and chemical treatments, but a mastectomy--the surgical removal of one or both breasts. Many women feel this loss as a loss of femininity, and seek breast reconstruction as a route to preserve this very important part of their identity.
Breast reconstruction can be performed either with a breast implant or with indigenous tissue from other parts of your body.
Breast reconstruction is a procedure that restores the breast to nearly normal appearance and size following a mastectomy. While breast reconstruction is highly effective in rebuilding the breast, it is important to note that:
Your cosmetic surgeon will have a detailed discussion with you in a relaxed and comfortable setting. You will be encouraged to ask questions and talk about the procedure until you have reached your desired comfort level. Your cosmetic surgeon will also consult with your other doctors to make sure they are working in concert to give you the best possible outcome from your procedures.
In most cases, women can elect breast reconstruction with either breast implants or indigenous tissue.
Breast implants can give great results for reconstruction patients. Indigenous tissue reconstruction is known as transverse rectus abdominal muscle (TRAM) flap surgery because it borrows from abdominal muscle and other tissue to create the new breasts. Women who depend on their abdominal strength for work or recreational activities may consider this too great a sacrifice and may elect for reconstruction using breast implants.
Sometimes a patient's mastectomy or radiation treatments will not leave enough tissue on the chest to support an implant. A flap technique or tissue expansion is usually necessary to reconstruct the breast.
A TRAM flap uses the patient's skin, muscle and fat from the abdominal area to reconstruct the breast. The flap may be attached to the blood supply and be tunneled up through the wall of the chest, or it may be completely detached and shaped into a breast. The breast reconstruction technique can take a while longer because it depends on the use of tissue expanders to gradually build up sufficient tissue to support the breast implants.
After flap technique surgery, gauze or bandages are secured over the incisions. A support bra or elastic bandage will keep swelling to a minimum and provide support for the reconstructed breast. Temporarily, a thin tube could be inserted underneath the skin to drain away fluids or blood. You may receive a pain pump with narcotics to reduce your level of discomfort.
The vast majority of women are very pleased with breast reconstruction's final results, which can ease the negative impact of the experience of cancer and of a mastectomy. Over a period of time, some breast sensation may come back and scar lines will lessen.
When you select a cosmetic surgery practice for a procedure such as breast reconstruction, it is extremely important that you feel very satisfied with the experience level of your plastic surgeons. Dr. John Smoot, and Dr. Wendell Smoot, cosmetic surgeons in the La Jolla, San Diego area, understand this requirement and are ready to answer any and all questions regarding cosmetic surgery and what it offers you. Each physician in their group has over 20 years of experience practicing plastic surgery, and Dr. Wendell Smoot has 30 years.
If you or a loved one has undergone a mastectomy and would like to consider undergoing reconstructive surgery, please contact the offices of Dr. John Smoot, and Dr. Wendell Smoot to schedule a breast reconstruction consultation, or call 800.715.5052; we can help you determine if breast reconstruction is right for you.
Wendell Smoot, M.D.
John Smoot, M.D.
Reza Sadrian, M.D.
Carol Hollan, M.D.
9850 Genesee Ave. #300, #380
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone No: (858) 587-9850
Fax: (858) 622-2066
If you live near La Jolla or elsewhere in San Diego and would like to learn more about abdominoplasty or liposuction, contact our practice today.