Through cancer, a woman’s life is forever changed. While a mastectomy can help save a woman’s life, it also robs her of a natural part of her body. Breast reconstruction is done in order to restore the shape of a woman’s breast after a mastectomy. For our Bergen County breast reconstruction patients, breast reconstruction can be quite overwhelming. Dr. Tzvi Small understands the emotional and physical aspects of breast reconstruction and strives to provide each patient with the best in technology, the best in surgical techniques, and the best care available. He is a pioneer in the field of breast reconstruction and is one of the few surgeons in New Jersey who is able to perform DIEP flap breast reconstruction. DIEP flap breast reconstruction is one of the most difficult forms of breast reconstruction to perform and one of the most advanced forms of breast reconstruction available today.
Immediate Reconstruction and Delayed Reconstruction
Many patients prefer to undergo breast reconstruction at the same time as their mastectomy. Immediately after the mastectomy is completed, the breast reconstruction surgery begins. Advantages of immediate reconstruction include less scarring, the possibility of fewer surgeries, and the ability to awake to a “reconstructed” breast. Women who undergo immediate reconstruction commonly experience fewer psychological issues, including depression, than those who undergo delayed reconstruction.
Unfortunately, not every breast cancer patient will be able to undergo immediate reconstruction after having undergone a mastectomy. Patients who need radiation therapy or chemotherapy may benefit from waiting to undergo breast reconstruction until their treatments are completed. Some patients decide to delay reconstruction because the treatment of the cancer itself is their number one priority.
Breast Implant Reconstruction
There are two types of breast implant reconstruction: one-stage reconstruction and two-stage reconstruction. Seventy percent of breast reconstruction patients undergo breast implant reconstruction.
One-stage reconstruction (direct-to-implant reconstruction):
When a patient is a candidate for one-stage reconstruction, the breast implant is inserted immediately following the mastectomy without the use of tissue expanders.
Two-stage reconstruction (tissue expander-to-implant reconstruction):
Two-stage reconstruction is much more common than one-stage reconstruction. During this process, tissue expanders are placed at the time of the mastectomy (or later on for patients who choose delayed reconstruction). The tissue expanders are filled as much as possible during their placement. The expanders will be further expanded once the incisions have healed. This process stretches the skin so that an implant can be placed. This process can take months to complete. Once the skin has been stretched enough to form a pocket to hold the implant, the expander can be surgically removed, and the breast implant may be placed.
The DIEP flap procedure uses skin and fat from the lower abdomen to reconstruct a breast after mastectomy. Because the skin below the belly button has a similar feel to breast tissue, it is an ideal choice to replace missing breast tissue. A benefit of the DIEP flap procedure is that it is similar to a tummy tuck in that it flattens the abdomen. This procedure offers patients a quicker recovery time, less discomfort after surgery, a lowered risk of hernia, and a more natural look and feel of the reconstructed breast.
Breast Reconstruction Considerations
Bergen County plastic surgery patients have many considerations when undergoing breast reconstruction. Some of the considerations include nipple reconstruction, implant type, and autologous breast reconstruction. The many forms of breast reconstruction and revision surgeries can be a lot to consider. Our skilled, compassionate staff are happy to answer any questions you may have during your breast reconstruction treatment process.
While cancer may have robbed you of your natural breasts, Bergen County breast enlargement and breast reconstruction plastic surgeon Tzvi Small can help you restore the shape and appearance of your breasts after mastectomy.
Contact Tzvi Small, M.D., F.A.C.S. Today
To learn more about Bergen County breast reconstruction, please contact Dr. Tzvi Small today.