Correcting Your Radiation-Injured Breast: What Dr. Wirth Can Do for You
You’ve beaten breast cancer, an amazing feat! But, radiation therapy has left one or both of your breasts damaged. You want to get back to feeling like a whole, healed person. That’s where Dr. Garrett Wirth comes in with opportunities for you. He will inform you of your options based on your medical history and future goals. Dr. Wirth understands that having breast cancer is a traumatic experience, and he will work with you step-by-step to ensure you feel heard and that your realistic goals are met.
Options for Breast Correction After Radiation Implant Correction
If you and Dr. Wirth decide that breast implants are the best option to correct your radiation-injured breast, he will also help you determine what type of implants to get. You may get tissue expanders first, followed by either silicone or saline breast implants or potentially go directly to breast implant.
After you have finished radiation therapy and the injured tissue has been removed from your breast, Dr. Wirth may insert a tissue expander between your skin and chest muscle or more likely partially under the chest muscle, with or without and allograft. This will enlarge the space to make room for the implant. Following this, you will receive multiple saline injections that will occur over the course of several months. These will expand the tissue further and stretch the skin, signaling new tissue cells to grow and correct your breast(s).
Saline and Silicone Implants
Saline implants are made from a silicone shell and a type of space like a balloon to fill with saline, a sterile salt and water mixture. Silicone implants are composed of silicone gel and many will better mimic the feel of a natural breast. Both are safe options to consider. If Dr. Wirth determines that you need tissue expansion prior to receiving your saline or silicone implants, that process will begin before your implants can be placed. After the tissue expansion process has been completed, Dr. Wirth will insert the implant(s) in its place.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap
Latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction uses skin, muscle and fat from the area behind your armpit and beneath your shoulder along the back. The skin, muscle and fat are then moved under your skin to your chest area, where it is placed to correct any injuries radiation may have caused. It remains connected to the original blood supply. Ideally, the scar line is hidden in the bra/bathing suit line.
An additional method of correcting your radiation-injured breast that may be viable for you is the TRAM flap. The rectus abdominis is a muscle between your lower ribs and xyphoid and pubic bone, near the bottom of your abdomen (the “six pack” muscles). In order for Dr. Wirth to perform a TRAM flap, you must have enough spare tissue in the area of your lower abdomen to use for the flap. If you do, Dr. Wirth will remove a section of fat, skin and muscle and transfer it to your breasts. TRAM tissue is very similar to breast tissue and therefore gives breasts a highly natural appearance and texture. It closes very similar to a “tummy tuck.” This flap can be done “pedicled” (keeping the blood supply intact) or as a “free flap,” which requires sewing blood vessels back together. The “free flap” option is an advanced procedure not offered by many other surgeons.
DIEP- deep interior epigastric perforator- flaps also take tissue from the lower abdomen (similar to TRAM flaps). However, DIEP flaps do not remove any muscles in the lower abdomen. Following the tissue removal, Dr. Wirth will reconfigure the tissue into your breast shape, place it, and suture your incisions. This flap does require suturing the blood vessels back together and is a much more advanced procedure not offered by many other surgeons.
A little known option offered by Dr. Wirth is fat grafting. This can be utilized to “fine tune” in your breast(s) to achieve your best possible outcome. Often, Dr. Wirth utilizes this technique to fill in some contour defects that can arise for various reasons. Dr. Wirth will utilize some liposuction techniques to remove fat from somewhere else on your body and then selectively place the fat into the breast where necessary for best cosmetic changes. This can be used with no other reconstruction, tissue expanders, breast implants, your own tissue and for other reasons. One often overlooked area from other surgeons is correcting the defects and changes that occur from lumpectomy and even those created by radiation. Fat grafting has even been shown to improve radiated skin!
Schedule Your Breast Reconstruction in Newport Beach Today: (949) 238-6713
If you have suffered from breast cancer and are ready to have your breasts back, Dr. Wirth is the one to call. His knowledge and understanding will ensure that you have a positive experience and that your desired results are met. Most importantly, it is Dr. Wirth’s goal that you start feeling like your best self again. For more information about the breast cosmetic surgeries we offer at Wirth Plastic Surgery, click on the following links:
Contact us at Wirth Plastic Surgery to learn more about your options. We can be reached online or by dialing (949) 238-6713.