Breast Cancer Part 2: Reconstruction Choices

Dr. Mahsa Mohgaddam w patient

Breast Reconstruction Choices

One in eight US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US. Many women are distraught by the news they have breast cancer and feel this sense of urgency to make important decisions regarding their care. I advise our patients to take time to understand their options and choices. Breast reconstruction generally falls into two categories: implant reconstruction or reconstruction using a person’s own tissue, also known as autologous reconstruction. Autologous reconstruction can be subdivided into either flap reconstruction, reconstruction with autologous fat transfer or even a combination of the two. Fat transfer is perhaps the least invasive option, using your own liposuctioned fat to reconstruct the breasts.

Fat Grafting

A newer and increasingly popular alternative in autologous (your own) reconstruction is breast reconstruction with fat grafting.   Fat grafting is natural, flexible and versatile. It allows the plastic surgeon to gradually sculpt and reconstruct the breast to a natural looking shape and feel. Patients can expect breasts with a more natural look and feel. Like other reconstructive techniques, fat grafting is a staged procedure with results achieved over time. Fat is harvested from the abdomen, flanks and thighs and then is injected into the breasts through small incisions. This is an outpatient procedure, with each stage carried out every 3 to 6 months.   The number of stages required for completion varies on an individual basis. Recovery time from each stage is typically less than one week with minimal down time from surgery. The results are long lasting and the patient also receives the added benefit of liposuction at the donor sites. This technique may be used for correction of deformities resulting from lumpectomy, as well as for post-mastectomy reconstruction. Studies suggest that fat graft injections may improve the quality and texture of radiated skin and provides an exciting new option for breast reconstruction. Our series continues next week. Click here if you missed Part 1.

Photo: Dr. Mahsa Moghaddam discussing breast reconstruction choices.

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