Breast Reconstruction in Atlanta & Marietta
What is breast reconstruction in Atlanta?
Breast reconstruction in Marietta & Atlanta is surgery for women who have had their breast removed, usually due to breast cancer. Our goal in breast reconstruction is to rebuilds a natural looking breast that resembles the opposite breast in size and shape. The nipple and the darker area around the nipple (areola) can also be added. We now offer Nipple Sparing and Skin Sparing Mastectomy reconstruction for Marietta & Atlanta women who qualify. Most women who have had a mastectomy can have reconstruction. Women who have had only the part of the breast around the cancer removed (lumpectomy) may also need reconstruction. We believe that there is life after breast cancer.
Every woman has a right to breast reconstruction. This is now a federal mandate and insurance companies are required to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy. There is no age limitation for breast reconstruction and there are multiple reconstructive options available. There is no single procedure that is best for everyone; the best option will become clear after detailed discussion with Dr Okoro. He has tremendous experience with all the options of breast reconstruction.
Today, more women with breast cancer choose surgery that removes only part of the breast tissue. This may be called breast conservation surgery, lumpectomy, or segmental mastectomy. But some women have a mastectomy, which means the entire breast is removed. Many women choose reconstructive surgery to rebuild the shape and look of the breast.
Why have breast reconstruction in Marietta or Atlanta?
- to make their breasts look balanced when they are wearing a bra
- to permanently regain their breast shape
- to reconstruct deformed breast from surgery or trauma
- to avoid the use of an external prosthesis
- to improve body image and self esteem
What are the results like?
If you have bilateral mastectomy, the results usual are similar. If you have one sided mastectomy, you will be able to see the difference between the reconstructed breast and the remaining breast when you are nude. But when you are wearing a bra, the breasts should be alike enough in size and shape that you will feel comfortable about how you look in most types of clothes.
Immediate or delayed breast reconstruction
Immediate breast reconstruction is done at the same time as the mastectomy. An advantage to this is that the chest tissues are not damaged by radiation therapy or scarring. This often means that the final result looks better. Also, immediate reconstruction means less surgery.
After the first surgery, there still may be a number of steps that are needed to complete the immediate reconstruction process. If you are planning to have immediate reconstruction, be sure to ask what will need to be done afterward and how long it will take.
Delayed breast reconstruction means that the rebuilding is started later. This may be a better choice for some women who need radiation to the chest area after the mastectomy. Radiation therapy given after breast reconstruction surgery can cause problems. Some women do not want to think about reconstruction while coping with a diagnosis of cancer. If this is the case, you may choose to wait until after your breast cancer surgery to decide about reconstruction
Types of breast reconstruction
Several types of operations can be done to reconstruct your breast. You can have a newly shaped breast with the use of a breast implant, your own tissue flap, or a combination of the two. (A tissue flap is a section of your own skin, fat, and muscle which is moved from your tummy, back, or other area of your body to the chest area.) Dr. Okoro has extensive experience with all of the options of breast reconstruction including nipple sparing and skin sparing mastectomy reconstruction.
Implant-based reconstruction is, by far, the most common technique for breast reconstruction in the United States. During surgery, Dr. Okoro inserts a breast tissue expander behind the muscle and skin left after mastectomy. Dr Okoro frequently uses new product made of acellular human dermis such as AlloDerm® or FlexHD to extend and support natural tissues and help them grow and heal. This temporary implant is later serially expanded in his office, expanding these soft tissues until the breast mound reaches a sufficient size. The temporary implant is ultimately replaced with a final implant during a second procedure. In addition to nipple reconstruction, subsequent procedures may include reducing, enlarging, or lifting the opposite breast for improved symmetry.
Tissue flap reconstruction involves transferring a woman’s own tissues to her missing breast, usually to avoid an implant or replace damaged, radiated tissue. Tissue is commonly relocated are from the abdomen (TRAM flap, DEIP), back (lat dorsi flap), or buttocks area (S-GAP flap). Many patients and doctors find that flap reconstruction outcomes look and feel more natural, despite the added scars and healing time. Dr Okoro has a has performed many of these procedures and is well experienced.
DIEP ((deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap reconstruction, a newer type of flap procedure, uses fat and skin from the same area as in the TRAM flap but does not use the muscle to form the breast mound. This results in less skin and fat in the lower belly (abdomen), or a “tummy tuck.” This method uses a free flap, meaning that the tissue is completely cut free from the tummy and then moved to the chest area. This requires the use of a microscope (microsurgery) to connect the tiny vessels. The procedure takes longer than the TRAM pedicle flap discussed above.
The latissimus dorsi flap moves muscle and skin from your upper back when extra tissue is needed. The flap is made up of skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels. It is tunneled under the skin to the front of the chest. This creates a pocket for an implant, which can be used for added fullness to the reconstructed breast. Though it is not common, some women may have weakness in their back, shoulder, or arm after this surgery.
Nipple and areola reconstruction
You can decide if you want to have your nipple and the dark area around the nipple (areola) reconstructed. Nipple and areola reconstructions are optional and usually the final phase of breast reconstruction. This is a separate surgery that is done to make the reconstructed breast look more like the original breast. It can be done as an outpatient after drugs are used to make the area numb (under local anesthesia). It is usually done after the new breast has had time to heal (about 3 to 4 months after surgery). A tattoo may be used to match the color of the nipple of the other breast and to create the areola.
It is common to get a second opinion before having any surgery. Breast reconstruction and even mastectomy are not emergencies. It is more important for you to make the right decisions based on the correct information than to act quickly before you know all your options before surgery.
Planning your surgery
You can start talking about reconstruction as soon as you know you have breast cancer. You will want your breast surgeon and Dr Okoro to work together to come up with the best possible plan for reconstruction. After reviewing your medical history and overall health, your surgeon will explain which reconstructive options are best for you based on your age, health, body type, lifestyle, and goals. Talk with your surgeon openly about what you expect. Dr. Okoro will be frank with you when explaining the risks and benefits of each option. Dr Okoro will also explain what to expect before and after surgery. Health insurance policies often cover most or all of the cost of reconstruction after a mastectomy. Check your policy to make sure you are covered. Almost any woman who must have her breast removed because of cancer can have reconstructive surgery. Certain risks go along with any surgery, and reconstruction may have certain unique problems for some people.
Can breast reconstruction hide cancer, or cause it to come back?
Studies show that reconstruction does not make breast cancer come back. If the cancer does come back, reconstructed breasts should not cause problems with chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
If you are thinking about breast reconstruction, either with an implant or flap, you need to know that reconstruction rarely, if ever, hides a return of breast cancer. You should not consider this a big risk when deciding to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
To determine if you are a good candidate for breast reconstruction, Dr. Okoro will review your health history and perform an examination during your consultation. He will also take preoperative photos during your visit. During the consultation, Dr. Okoro will understand your goals and desires and he will review all available techniques for breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is usually performed under general anesthesia and can be either inpatient or outpatient surgery, depending on the procedure. We instruct all implant-based breast reconstruction patients to wear sports bras instead of cupped bras during their treatment, to allow for changing sizes and shapes. Strenuous upper body activity is avoided during certain phases of treatment, and patients are allowed to drive and return to work once they discontinue narcotic pain medicine. If you would like to schedule a confidential consultation for breast reconstruction at our plastic surgery practice please call 770-485-1554 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All data and information provided within this website and related blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Georgia Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, PC makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Treatment information and medical recommendations must be made on a case-by-case basis; it is recommended that you seek personalized care from a board certified medical doctor for any medical questions or health issues you may have. Some photos in this website feature models for illustrative purposes. Photos of actual patients can be found in the before and after photo gallery.