Feel Whole Again after Breast Cancer
Many women that have faced breast cancer consider breast reconstruction a critical part of feeling whole again. Every woman exploring her options should find a reconstructive surgeon with whom she feels completely comfortable, and who can help her make complex decisions about her treatment. Dr. Adrian Sjarif is pleased to work with Sydney and Wollongong breast reconstruction candidates to restore natural and beautiful bust lines after cancer.
Breast Reconstruction Options
There are two ways to reconstruct the breast mound: using an implant or using the patient’s own tissue. Sometimes these approaches are combined.
Each of these techniques can yield exceptional results that look and feel natural. The option that is best for each patient depends on her anatomy, lifestyle and other factors that are discussed at length during consultation with Dr. Sjarif.
Implant-Based Reconstruction: If a large amount of skin is removed at the time of mastectomy, Dr. Sjarif may recommend using a device called a tissue expander prior to placing the implant. The tissue expander is placed inside the chest and gradually filled with saline injections; this process gently stretches the skin and creates a space beneath the chest wall muscles and skin so it can later accommodate an implant.
The silicone implants Dr. Sjarif uses for breast reconstruction are extremely safe and among the most studied medical devices in the world, with a very low rate of complications. Implants come in several shapes and many different sizes to satisfy every patient’s unique goals.
Autologous Breast Reconstruction: Autologous breast reconstruction uses a flap of tissue from another area of the patient’s body to recreate the breast mound. Many women believe that using their own tissue creates a breast that looks and feels more natural than an implant; however, this is a personal preference and ultimately up to the individual patient to decide.
There are several different kinds of flaps, including the deep inferior epigastric artery flap (DIEP) and the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap, taken from the lower abdomen, and the latissimus dorsi flap, taken from the back. The flap may be tunneled underneath the skin to the chest, or detached and re-attached to the chest.
Once the breast has been recreated, the final stage of breast reconstruction is usually to replicate the appearance of a natural nipple and areola. This can be accomplished surgically through the use of local skin flaps, skin grafting or with the help of a talented tattoo artist.
Often when Dr. Sjarif reconstructs one breast, his patient requests breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction on the opposite breast in order to achieve improved symmetry. This can be done at the time of breast reconstruction or performed separately.
Timing Breast Reconstruction
Our Sydney and Wollongong breast reconstruction candidates can time their surgery several different ways. Some women decide to have their breasts reconstructed immediately at the time of mastectomy or lumpectomy. Other women decide to delay their reconstruction until after they have completely healed from their cancer treatment. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, all of which can be evaluated with Dr. Sjarif.
For more information about the breast reconstruction technique that is right for you, please call or email Dr. Sjarif today.