Breast Reconstruction Options
After having a lumpectomy or mastectomy, it might seem that you have lost more than one or both of your breasts. You may feel that not only do you no longer have a part of your body, you are now missing a part of your identity. Breast reconstruction by Dr. Garrett Wirth can help you get back to who you were before cancer—and uncover or recover a part of you that you might have felt you lost.
When considering breast reconstruction, it is important to remember that you have many options. You and Dr. Wirth will make the initial decision of whether or not you want to move forward with breast reconstruction at an initial consultation, as well as determine best timing of reconstruction. It is critical to communicate your expectations, concerns and goals when discussing if you are a good candidate for breast reconstruction. If you decide to proceed with the surgery, Dr. Wirth will help you determine the type of reconstruction that can meet your goals and be done safely.
Types of Breast Reconstruction
There are two main types of breast reconstruction: implant and flap.
- Implant reconstruction involves using an implant that is filled with either silicone, saline or a combination of both.
- Flap reconstruction uses tissue from another part of your body to be transferred to your breast. The tissue can come from your abdomen, thighs, buttocks or back.
There are positive and negative features of each option, as you will see. Also, always remember that you are in charge of your body. Some women choose no reconstruction and some benefit from having a combination of flap and implant reconstructions. A full consultation is necessary to sort it all out, but we will present some basic information here to get you started.
A great deal of information is available to you in the book “Personalized Breast Care,” available on Amazon.com. It was co-written and co-edited by Dr. Wirth to provide women and their family/friends with important information to empower you through the process.
A positive aspect of implant reconstruction is that it is less invasive than flap reconstruction. Implants are less invasive because they do not require additional surgery outside of the chest area. You might choose implant reconstruction if you know that you will not require radiation therapy, as radiation can alter the aesthetic look of your breasts with implants a bit more than radiation alters flaps. Your implant results will be immediate, however, the implants typically need to be replaced every 10-20 years.
In contrast, flap reconstruction generally lasts for the duration of your life. There are several types of flap reconstruction. Dr. Wirth will inform you of the pros and cons regarding the type of flap you have decided on (i.e. where your tissue is being taken from). After you use tissue from your chosen region, you cannot take tissue from there again. It is also important to understand that your flaps will change as your body does, so if you gain or lose weight, your flaps will adjust accordingly. Sometimes there is benefit to that and sometimes it can be frustrating. If a flap is taken from your back, for example, an important goal is to just hide the scar near or in the bra and bathing suit lines. If the flap is taken from the lower abdomen, there are benefits that replicate a “tummy tuck.”
Implant reconstruction surgery should take about an hour to complete, whereas flap reconstruction procedures range from one to up to twelve hours. The length of your flap reconstruction procedure varies based on where you are getting the tissue. Your recovery also depends on the type of surgery you and Dr. Wirth have chosen. If you select flap reconstruction, your recovery may be more extensive due to the fact that you have had more than one area of your body surgically treated.
Request a FREE Consultation About Your Breast Reconstruction
You should also consider that all of these options will likely require follow-up appointments after your procedure. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose a surgeon who is experienced and who understands your needs and goals. Dr. Wirth is happy to assist you every step of the way on your breast reconstruction journey.
For more information on you breast reconstruction options, click on the following links:
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wirth, call us at (949) 238-6713 or fill out an online contact form here. Your first consultation at our Newport Beach plastic surgery office is completely free of charge!