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BREAST RECONSTRUCTION

Breast Reconstruction Overview

Reconstruction of the breast following mastectomy is an integral part of the treatment of breast cancer. Breast reconstruction can happen at the time of mastectomy, or at a later date as a separate operation. Many factors contribute to the timing of breast reconstruction including the patient’s desires, the type and size of the tumor, and the potential need for post-operative radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Goals of breast reconstruction are to create an aesthetic breast mound, to achieve a normal and symmetric silhouette, and to limit patient morbidity. Breast reconstruction can be divided into three categories: implants with or without tissue expansion, autologous tissue (Flap), and a combination of implants and autologous tissue.  Dr. Levine spent an additional of year of formal training specializing in flap reconstruction.

 

Nipple-Areolar Complex Reconstruction

Reconstruction of the nipple-areolar complex is an important component of complete breast reconstruction.  Effective reconstruction of the nipple area has been shown to have a major psychological benefit to the patient when compared to those without nipple areolar complex reconstruction. Most methods of mastectomy remove the nipple-areolar complex along with the breast tissue.  The resulting initial reconstruction is without a nipple. Several months later, the patient may undergo nipple reconstruction with local flaps, grafts, or a combination of the two.  Tattooing of the nipple and areola can later be performed, completing the reconstruction of the nipple-areolar complex.

Although most forms of mastectomy remove the nipple-areolar complex, the nipple-sparing mastectomy, removes the breast tissue but spares the nipple and areola. A discussion with the surgical oncologist will determine whether the patient is a candidate for this type of procedure.

Flap Reconstruction 

Implant Based Reconstruction