Breast Reconstruction Procedures in the Dallas Texas Area
Breast reconstruction refers to the recreation of a breast following mastectomy or lumpectomy procedures. It can be done immediately (at the time of the cancer procedure) or delayed (weeks to years later). There are many procedures and options to consider when planning this procedure that will be outlined below.
Regardless of you reconstruction option, insurance will cover the procedure. It is important to first obtain “pre-approval” from the insurance company prior to performing the surgery.
During the consultation Dr. Hubbard will discuss everything from your diagnosis, need for radiation therapy, and surgical goals as they relate to your reconstruction. There are many factors that determine the best style of reconstruction, but here are some of the main points:
1. Breast Reconstruction with Implants
Implant reconstruction involves first placing a tissue expander, commonly at the end of the mastectomy procedure. The tissue expander can slowly be enlarged by injecting sterile saline into a port under your skin. This is a nearly pain free process that allows you to decide exactly what size you would like to be. After the tissue expanders are the correct size another surgery is required to remove the sizers and replace them with permanent implants.
Advantages: bilateral reconstruction, shorter/easier recovery procedures
Disadvantages: hard to create symmetry if only reconstructing one side, can’t be used if radiation has occurred/will occur,
2. Breast Reconstruction with Your Own Abdominal Tissue
Breast reconstruction using tissue from other places in your body can take many forms. The most common procedure today involves transplanting skin and fat from your abdomen to your breast. Although the surgeries are similar there are many variations of the name, you might hear it referred to as: DIEP flap, muscle sparing TRAM flap, free TRAM flap, SIEA flap, etc. The only difference between the procedures are the amount of damage done to your abdominal muscle during the surgery.
Advantages: good symmetry if only reconstructing one side, more natural looking and feeling than implant, remove unwanted belly skin and fat, excellent at replacing skin damaged by radiation.
Disadvantages: longer/harder surgery and recovery, requires patients to have enough belly skin and fat to create the desired breast(s) size
3. Breast Reconstruction with Fat Injections
This is a relatively new concept. For years plastic surgeons have been fine tuning the final results of this surgery with fat injections (filling in hollow spots), but the concept of using fat injections as the only method of reconstructing a breast is relatively new. This involves multiple outpatient procedures where fat is liposuctioned from other body areas and injected into the breasts.
Advantages: more natural looking and feeling than implant, removes unwanted fat from other body areas, shorter outpatient procedures, may help skin damaged by radiation
Disadvantages: multiple procedures, necessitates wearing a skin stretching device before surgery, requires patients to have enough fat to create the desired breast(s) size
4. Breast Reconstruction with Your Own Back Tissue
Using the latissimus muscle and overlying back skin is another common method to reconstruct the breast. The most common patient is someone that had radiation, but is not a candidate for or is not interested in this procedure using abdominal tissue. Usually there is not enough skin and fat to make a breast of adequate size using this method, so implants or fat injections can be used to augment the result.
Advantages: everyone has enough tissue to have this reconstruction performed and the reconstruction can be done in a single step.
Disadvantages: usually requires an implant for extra volume and a visible scar is left on the back.
The Final Result
Dr. Hubbard finds breast reconstruction to be one the most rewarding procedures. He knows this is an extremely confusing process with many options. Dealing with a new cancer diagnosis is difficult enough on it’s own, but the added stress of making reconstruction decisions can be very overwhelming. He will be happy to discuss all of your options at length and help you choose the best option for you.
During your consultation he will discuss with you your goals and expectations and determine if this is the right procedure for you.
To schedule your private consultation with Dr. Hubbard please email our office or call directly at 214.370.4813.