Breast reconstruction is a complicated and emotionally charged process. With the right surgeon, it can also be an exciting time of healing and moving on in life.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery
There were 232,670 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society. Of those women who elect to have mastectomies done, 42 percent will choose breast reconstruction. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act in 1998 guarantees insurance coverage for mastectomy reconstruction following a breast cancer diagnosis. While the recovery time is slightly longer than the mastectomy procedure alone, women say it’s an important decision “from an emotional standpoint.”
In recent years, many of the hang-ups people had about breast reconstruction have been assuaged. For instance, cohesive gel “gummy bear” implants hold a natural shape, rather than riding high and bouncy. Free tissue transfer implants use the patient’s abdominal tissue for a natural look without foreign substances like silicone placed in the body. The NY Times reports that 64,114 silicone implants, 7,898 saline implants, and 19,000 analogous tissue implants were done in 2012. For a full list of implant types offered by Manhattan’s top-female plastic surgeon Dr. Preminger, please click here.
A New York breast reconstruction surgery is a bright spot amid the clouds – something that makes a woman feel more confident and comfortable with her body after the invasiveness of cancer. Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is an Ivy League-educated Manhattan plastic surgeon and mother of three. She lends compassionate care during this difficult time and breaks down the options in a clear way to help women make a decision they are comfortable with for years to come.
Watch a direct to implant breast reconstruction surgery performed by Dr. Preminger
Breast reconstruction surgery
All patients are put under general anesthesia or IV sedation for mastectomy reconstruction, so they are not awake during the procedure. Most breast reconstructions involve a series of procedures done over time. In some cases, follow-up procedures to replace tissue expanders or reconstruct the nipple and areola are necessary.
The exact steps depend upon the type of breast reconstruction method chosen.
Skin Expansion: This technique combines the stretching of healthy skin tissue, along with the insertion of a silicone or saline breast implant. The surgeon uses a balloon expander beneath the skin and chest muscle to inject salt-water solution that fills the expander gradually over a few weeks or months. The expander is eventually removed through a second operation and a more permanent implant may be inserted. The nipple and areola are reconstructed later.
Flap Reconstruction: Tissue is taken from the back, buttocks, or abdomen and rebuilt in the breast region. Some techniques allow the tissue to remain attached to the original site and blood vessels through tunnels running beneath the skin. Other techniques use surgically removed tissue and reconnected blood vessels in the new region. An implant may or may not be needed.