Breast Reconstruction Virginia
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Also, please visit our dedicated and informative website for breast cancer patients at www.washingtonbreastreconstruction.com
Recovering from breast cancer can be a lengthy and difficult process. The emotional and physical toll that a mastectomy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy takes on our patients is well understood. However, breast reconstruction can be a fulfilling and rewarding step toward completing the journey to recovery. Dr. Mesbahi, who is fellowship trained in cancer reconstruction, has a special interest in breast reconstruction and offers his patients the latest techniques in reconstructive breast surgery from implant based reconstruction, to the more sophisticated microvascular tissue transfer (free flap) surgery such as the DIEP flap. Specialized surgeries such as nipple sparing mastectomy reconstruction and oncoplastic reconstructions are also commonly performed.
Options in Breast Reconstruction
The first option encountered by a patient is whether to have a reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy ( immediate) or at another time (delayed). Many women choose immediate reconstruction for the psychological benefits that reconstructing the breast offers.
The type of breast reconstruction available falls into two general categories: reconstruction with implants or reconstruction with one’s own body tissue (flap surgery). Sometimes a combination of the two may be used. The method chosen sometimes depends on a patient’s medical condition, breast size, and lifestyle. Generally, reconstruction with implants requires shorter surgery time, a shorter hospital stay, and a shorter recovery time. The surgery is usually done in two stages in which a temporary device known as a tissue expander is placed first followed by the actual saline or silicone implant which is placed three to six months later. The tissue expander is filled with saline (water) gradually during weekly or bi-weekly office visits to stretch the skin and underlying muscle in order to create room for the eventual implant placement.
Flap surgery, although often requiring longer surgery times and a longer recovery period, has long been considered the “gold standard” in breast reconstruction. Because tissue from one’s own body is used, the reconstructed breast looks and feels like a real breast. Common areas where tissue is borrowed from include the abdomen, the back, or the gluteal region. In the past, flap surgery from the abdomen was associated with prolonged recovery time because of the need to use significant muscle tissue during the surgery. This would sometimes cause permanent abdominal weakness. Today, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mesbahi performs the DIEP flap, a procedure that minimizes or eliminates the need to use muscle tissue for the breast reconstruction. The type of reconstruction performed will be chosen based on your physical examination, medical condition, and of course, your preferences.