Reconstruction of the breast after a mastectomy due to cancer or other disease is quite possible with today’s surgical procedures. The procedure is often covered by many HMOs after breast cancer surgery and legislation is currently before Congress to enact mandatory coverage. Using the newest medical techniques, a plastic surgeon is often able to create a breast that is similar in form and appearance to that of the natural breast. A consultation will provide you with information on the many available options for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction
At Aesthetic Surgery Center Antwerp, we frequently treat patients from out of town. For your convenience, we have created the form below which allows you to submit information about your surgical goals and photographs of yourself for Dr. Van Look to review.
Benefits Of Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction using autologous fat transfer has a number of benefits over breast reconstruction with implants, including the following:
- No risk of implant rejection
- Ability to shape and sculpt the breasts
- Minimal number of incisions
- Reduced scarring
- No risk of capsular contracture
In general, a breast reconstructed from a patient’s own tissue is more similar in shape, contour and feel to a natural breast than one reconstructed using an implant.
For a number of weeks or months prior to fat transfer, a tissue expander is placed below the pectoralis major muscle of the chest wall to create a new breast “pocket.” When the tissue has expanded enough, breast reconstruction using fat transfer can begin. First, fat is removed using liposuction, in which a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) is inserted through small incisions, and then moved back and forth to loosen excess fat, which is suctioned out using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. The harvested fat cells are then purified. In the second procedure, which takes place on the same day, the fat is injected into the breast through small incisions.
The procedure takes 4 to 6 hours to perform under general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with sedation, depending on the preference of the patient and surgeon. Because some of the injected fat is reabsorbed by the body, some people may require two to five fat-transfer procedures to achieve satisfactory results. Postoperative pain and swelling, which can be managed with prescription medication, are typical. A patient can return to work and other light activity after a few weeks.
Risks Of Breast Reconstruction
Aside from the risks associated with any surgery, those related to fat-transfer breast reconstruction include the following:
- Fat embolism
- Fat necrosis
- Oil cysts
- Loss of volume
Although there was initial concern in the medical community that using fat to reconstruct the breast might increase the risk of breast cancer’s recurring, studies indicate that it does not.