Women suffering from breast cancer often struggle emotionally when the tumors force doctors to remove one or both of their breasts. When board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Mohit Sood performs breast reconstruction surgery on his patients, he not only helps restore their confidence, he gives them a new outlook on life.
What Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
During breast reconstruction surgery, doctors rebuild breasts that surgeons had to remove due to cancerous growths. Doctors can perform the surgery by using muscle or fat from other parts of the body or by inserting an implant where the breast used to be. Sometimes surgeons may reduce the size of one breast to make it more proportionate to the other. The exact methods a surgeon will use depends on the details regarding the mastectomy, as well as on the patient’s own anatomy.
Benefits of Breast Reconstructive Surgery
Most women are devastated when they lose one or both of their breasts to cancer; however, reconstructive surgery can help minimize the emotional scarring left in cancer’s wake by restoring a patient’s womanly figure. Undergoing breast reconstruction surgery also makes purchasing bras, undergarments and other types of clothing much easier and satisfying. Sometimes, insurance providers will cover the cost of the surgery.
How Is Breast Reconstruction Performed?
There are several different methods of performing breast reconstruction surgery. They all require anesthesia in one of two forms: IV sedation that results in a light sleep or general anesthesia that produces a deep slumber. Once the patient has fallen asleep, Dr. Sood will perform the surgery by doing one or more of the following:
- Creating a Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous (TRAM) flap with fat, muscle and skin from the abdomen and using it to build a new breast.
- Moving tissue from the abdomen or buttocks by creating a Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) or Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator (SGAP). Dr. Sood only has to remove skin and fat when using either of these techniques.
- Inserting a tissue expander under the skin to stretch it and ultimately provide room for a breast implant. Patients must leave the expander in for four to six months to ensure the skin stretches enough for the insertion of the implant.
Regardless of the initial technique used, a surgeon can always add breast implants at a later time. Breast reconstructive surgery is generally a lengthy process with several necessary steps, ending with the placement and reconfiguration of the areola and nipple.