Reconstruction after Mastectomy

Mastectomy reconstruction can improve your appearance and psychology by correcting your breasts.

Reconstruction after Mastectomy

Plastic Surgery can be of great help in cases where the breast requires reconstruction after a mastectomy, improving the patient’s appearance and strengthening their confidence and disposition.

Reconstruction after Mastectomy

Mastectomy reconstruction can improve your appearance and psychology by correcting your breasts.

Breast reconstruction indications

The woman feels that her femininity and the harmony of her body has been lost, which greatly affects her role as a woman and a partner, but also the way she dresses, and her activities in general. Today, better and safer techniques are being used to reconstruct the breast, resulting in more and more women resorting to it.

The mastectomy reconstruction surgery does not affect the search for any possible relapse, nor does it cause metastases, while it provides very good aesthetic results. These days, almost every woman can undergo breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy, after special treatments, which means a period of about seven months.

In some cases, breast reconstruction is done immediately, in the same operation right after mastectomy. It should be noted that it is necessary, before anything can be done with the affected breast, to have a thorough examination of the other breast.

Statistically, both the frame of mind, as well as the life of women after breast reconstruction are significantly better than those of women without reconstruction.

Mastectomy reconstruction - Methods

Reconstruction with silicone implant

It can be performed in cases where the mastectomy has left enough skin to accommodate a silicone addition, and is the simplest method administered, with satisfactory results. A necessary condition is that there is enough space and skin to cover the implant.

When there is not enough skin in order to place the silicone implants, another operation must be performed first, using tissue expanders, which will create the necessary excess skin.

Tissue expanders look like small balloons, which are placed under the skin or under the pectoral muscles, and have the ability to stretch the skin, that is, creating excess skin when we slowly inflate them. At the start, an operation is performed during which the expander is placed under the skin or muscles and, at some point, outside the breast, the expander valve is placed under the skin. A few weeks later, the doctor will inject a saline solution with a syringe into the valve and through it into the expander. This way and adding saline solution to the expander every 2-3 weeks or so, it will slowly swell and the skin will stretch with it, creating the excess skin needed.

A few months later, after the skin has stretched to the desired degree, an operation will follow during which the expander will be removed and a silicone implant will be inserted in its place. In order to avoid two surgeries, many doctors prefer becker type implants, which are both implants and expanders in one.

Mastectomy reconstruction with tissue expanders

Tissue expanders are being used more and more, eliminating the problem of capsule formation. These are small silicone bags, filled with saline, silicone or a combination of the two, and placed under the remaining skin. They are filled with a syringe with a very thin needle through a valve about every week, so that they are stretched gradually.

This way, the skin slowly grows due to its elastic properties, so that the size of the breast is initially larger than desired, and is left like this for about six weeks. The saline solution is then removed to achieve size symmetry and the valve is removed with a small operation.

At the same time, the nipple is also reconstructed. Lately, with the use of the finest additions of non-smooth surfaces, the problems of capsule formation have been seriously reduced or even vanished.

Mastectomy reconstruction with flaps

When the skin is very stretched and thin after the mastectomy, especially if the pectoralis muscle has been removed as well, then the reconstruction is performed using surrounding tissues. Depending on the case, we use, with special techniques, skin flaps or muscle and skin flaps.

The muscle-skin flaps used more often are:

Lattissimus flap: This technique is more often used for breast reconstruction. With this method, skin is moved from the back along with a part of the wide dorsal, which is located right behind the armpit. Depending on the case, silicone can be added for larger size.

Rectus abdominus: With this technique, an excess part of the skin from the abdomen, along with one of the two rectus muscles, is moved to the area of the breast which has been removed. It is possible to use half with each rectum for each breast when both sides are reconstructed.

This method may be used when the chest wall has been irradiated, or for large deficits, and does not require silicone addition. The skin, along with the subcutaneous fat used, is what was left over from the abdominoplasty, and the suturing is done low, just above the pubicc area. This operation cannot be done on people who are either too thin or obese, or on people who have had abdominal surgeries which affected muscle perfusion.

Nipple and areola reconstruction

This is the last stage of reconstruction, where skin from the breast itself is used to repair the nipple and a skin graft from the upper-inner surface of the thigh is used for the areola. The color match is achieved with appropriate skin coloring.

Breast reconstruction after partial mastectomy

In these cases, the reconstruction is done with the use of skin flaps or with the use of silicone addition.

Dr. A. Gaitanis

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Apostolos Gaitanis can combine your personal needs with the most modern techniques in cosmetic plastic surgery in order to achieve the best possible result.

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