Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Breast Reconstruction Surgery Explained

October 1, 2020 Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

woman in white tank top wearing pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and a yearly reminder that breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. If you have gone through the overwhelming experience of a mastectomy or lumpectomy, you have several options for restoring your breast(s) in a way that is natural-looking and beautiful. At Dr. J. J. Wendel Plastic Surgery, we have performed over 5,000 successful breast reconstruction surgeries in Nashville, TN, and we understand how to help patients choose the right procedure for their desired results. If you’re interested in scheduling a consultation for a life-changing breast reconstruction surgery, feel free to contact us at any time.

Understanding Your Breast Reconstruction Options

Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) Flap Surgery

Dr. Wendel specializes in DIEP flap breast reconstruction, a highly advanced procedure that uses the patient’s stomach fat, tissue, and blood vessels to form a new breast mound after having part or all of the breast removed. Also, abdominal muscles are not affected during DIEP flap surgery, which lowers the risk of any stomach weakness or hernias. Our office regularly performs DIEP flap surgery, which typically allows for a quicker recovery time than other options.

“The bilateral DIEP flap can be an excellent option and completed in 10 hours in skilled hands. I do a large number of them in Nashville, TN. The recovery can be better than expected because the muscle is spared. I recommend an abdominal binder for six weeks and no lifting >10 pounds for 8 weeks. Fat transfer is also an option but it can take months and many fat grafting sessions. You may also opt for delayed reconstruction and wait for a time when you can have the reconstruction that you want. The ultimate decision is up to you.” Dr. J. Jason Wendel

Latissimus Dorsi Flap Surgery

Similar to DIEP flap, latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction also involves removing existing skin to mold a new breast. However, this option uses fat, muscle, skin, and blood vessels from the upper back area rather than the abdomen to shape a new breast. It also requires muscle removal where DIEP flap does not. Many patients choose to add the latissimus dorsi flap to breast implants to provide additional coverage and create a more natural appearance than breast implants alone can offer.

Tissue Expander Placement

Patients also have the option to choose breast implants over natural breast reconstruction. To prepare for breast augmentation after mastectomy, the chest must create extra room for implants to comfortably fit. This is done by inserting tissue expanders at the time of mastectomy. Dr. Wendel inserts a balloon-like device that is later replaced by implants once the tissue adequately expands. Tissue expander placement is a more gradual process as it requires breast tissue to stretch over time.

Oncoplastic Surgery

Oncoplastic breast reconstruction is an excellent option for lumpectomy candidates, which involves partial removal of the breast rather than a full mastectomy. During oncoplastic breast surgery, the patient’s remaining breast tissue is reshaped to restore a natural appearance. Also, patients can choose to receive a breast lift or reduction during oncoplastic surgery to correct breast asymmetry from losing part of the breast. For optimal results, it is essential to undergo surgery prior to any radiation therapy.

Get the Amazing Results You Deserve

Dr. J. J. Wendel Plastic Surgery performs breast reconstruction surgery in our fully-accredited surgical facility in Nashville, TN. Patient safety is our utmost priority, and we are dedicated to providing each client with excellent care to help them feel as comfortable as possible. You are worthy of feeling at home in your own skin again, and we would love to help you achieve incredible results. Schedule a consultation with us to learn more about your breast reconstruction options.