Breast Reconstruction Baton Rouge
Breast cancer is a disease that affects one in 8 women in the United States during their lifetime. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary team including breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, geneticists, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and radiation oncologists. I am honored to work with this team and participate in my breast cancer patient’s care. It is important for each patient to feel informed and powerful during this process.
Breast reconstruction does not refer to one procedure, but to a family of different surgeries that all have the goal of creating an aesthetically pleasing breast that makes the patient feel whole. Patients have a choice in breast reconstruction regarding timing, type of surgery for cancer removal (lumpectomy or mastectomy), and type of reconstruction. I will work with you to create a personalized surgical treatment plan that you are comfortable with.
If you proceed with lumpectomy after a discussion with your breast surgeon, I work with your breast surgeon to rearrange the remaining breast tissue at the time of lumpectomy. This is called oncoplastic breast surgery and often includes a reduction or breast lift. This surgery is ideal for my patients with larger or sagging breasts that would be a good candidate for a breast reduction surgery. I can re-shape the breast and create a smaller perkier breast that is quickly ready for the next step in treatment. This procedure is part of breast conservation therapy, which includes lumpectomy and radiation therapy. I can also revise any breast surgery six months to one year after radiation therapy with fat grafting (harvesting of fat cells from one area of the body with liposuction and transferring to the breast to improve breast shape and contour).
If a patient has a larger breast cancer, is likely to recur, or has a genetic susceptibility to breast cancer, the breast surgeon may recommend mastectomy or complete removal of one or both breasts. This may also include removal of the nipple and the areola. In most healthy patients who are interested in breast reconstruction, I follow the breast surgeon at the time of surgery for an immediate breast reconstruction. If you have had a mastectomy in the past or are overwhelmed by all of the treatment decisions, breast reconstruction can still be performed in a delayed fashion.
The most common breast reconstruction performed is tissue expander/breast implant reconstruction which often requires two to three surgeries for a final result. At the time of mastectomy, a tissue expander can be placed under the remaining breast skin or muscle. The tissue expander will be inflated over time in clinic with saline to safely stretch the remaining tissue to create a pocket for a future breast implant. The second surgery typically occurs approximately 3-6 months after the mastectomy and the tissue expander is removed and replaced with a permanent implant. At that time, I may work on improving the breast pocket and may proceed with fat grafting to improve contour. A final touch up surgery may be performed for further fat grating and possible creation of a nipple and areolar tattooing if the nipple was removed during mastectomy.
Another option for breast reconstruction is utilizing your own tissue from one body part and transferring the tissue to re-create a breast. This surgery is called a “flap.” The most commonly used areas are the back and the lower abdominal fat and skin. These surgeries are more extensive and have a longer recovery, but provide excellent outcomes in the right candidate.