There are two basic categories for breast reconstruction, but there are many different procedures for this surgery. Both surgeries begin with anesthesia. First, we will discuss the nipple sparing technique, which is the most common type of breast reconstruction surgery that Dr. Larsen’s performs.
With breast reconstruction, Dr. Larsen’s goal is always to save the nipple and this technique, using tissue expanders, typically allows for the least amount of scarring and gives comparable results to a cosmetic breast augmentation.
When this technique is chosen, it is usually because after radiation or a mastectomy there is insufficient tissue to support and cover a surgical implant. There are several options for a flap technique that involves using donor muscle and fat from another portion of the patient’s body. Common areas used are the lower abdomen, buttocks or upper thighs. In this procedure, care is taken to maintain blood supply to the relocated tissue. There are many reasons for taking tissue from these different areas of your body. Dr. Larsen will help you determine if this technique is the best for your personal body composition or not.
For women who do not require radiation, or don’t wish to use a donor site, implant-based reconstruction is a possibility. Although this treatment is an easier recovery than a donor tissue flap technique, it can be a more lengthy process. It involves several office visits over 1-2 months after the placement of the expander.
In this procedure, a breast implant can be used either in place of donor tissue or in addition to it. Reconstruction with an implant alone usually requires the use of an expander. An expander is a medical device placed within your chest before you receive your implant to help the skin stretch slowly over your newly formed breast. The device is filled with saline and expanded through a port during an office visit. After the expansion is complete, a follow up surgical procedure will be made to exchange the expander for a permanent implant.
Depending on the type of mastectomy you received, you might need nipple reconstruction. This is usually the final portion of reconstruction. There are many techniques used to complete this process. Surgically there are techniques used to fold the skin to create the shape desired followed by tattooing to create the correct pigment on your skin.