Why Are Plastic Surgeons Involved With Breast Cancer Treatment?

Having a breast removed because of cancer is a big deal. It is an emotional roller coaster that involves multiple specialists including an oncologist, a breast, oncologic or general surgeon, a radiologist, a radiation specialist, frequently an internal medicine doctor and a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon involvement starts before the cancer is excised by the breast surgeon, even when only part of the breast is removed.

Plastic Surgeons are the soft tissue experts, from head to toe. We spend years training and countless hours developing new techniques and strategies to solve complex soft tissue problems. We also spend a significant amount of time on enhancing women’s bodies by reducing, enlarging and tightening and lifting breasts. We understand the sophisticated beauty and anatomy of the woman’s body. That is why plastic surgeons are involved, and should be involved.

We help patients by jump starting them into recovering and healing their body and minds. Thereby helping women to  get back to their lives.

In many cases, when the whole breast is removed, we can start breast reconstruction then and there. Sometimes we have to wait until the initial treatment with surgery, chemo and/or radiation is done so that we can begin our part.

What Are My Options For Breast Reconstruction?

There are 3 main options:

1. Completely Autologous Reconstruction – Only local tissues from your body are used to create a new breast. The most commonly used are belly fat and the back.

2. Expander or implant Reconstruction – an inflatable device or an impant is placed under the chest muscle. If an expander is placed it is used to create space for an implant to be placed at a later time

3. Hybrid Reconstruction – (my favorite) – a combination of the autologous and implant reconstruction

How do I Know If I Am A Good Candidate For Breast Reconstruction?

In general if you are healthy, do not have major medical problems and do not smoke or use tobacco products, then you are probably a candidate for breast reconstruction. A consultation with a plastic surgeon will guide you with this decision.

What is the usual sequence and how long does it take?

In the majority of cases the reconstruction is started at the initial surgery when one breast or both breasts are removed. The plastic surgeon evaluates the remaining tissues and determines whether it is ok to proceed or if the reconstruction needs to be delayed. Depending on the length and complexity of the surgery the patient remains overnight in the hospital on antibiotics, pain medication and drain care. It is not unusual to remain in the hospital for another day. Your plastic surgeon will see you in the hospital and then in the office after you are sent home.

The next surgery (2nd stage) usually takes place between 3 -6 months depending on the reconstruction; the surgery typically involves removal of expanders, placement of permanent implants, revisions and fat grafting.

The 3rd stage is typically when the nipple and areola is reconstructed. This stage can involve creating a nipple by using skin flaps and/or nipple/areola tattooing.

Typically a complete breast reconstruction will take between 9 – 12 months.

To learn more to how Dr. Sarraga and the Storch Plastic Surgery Facility in Aventura can help you with your Breast Reconstruction

Please contact us to schedule a consultation



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