A mastectomy can save a woman's life. But some women feel they have not fully triumphed over breast cancer until their breasts are restored. More and more women are making the choice to have breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy. Women from Paradise Valley, Gilbert, and Mesa, AZ and other nearby cities have the support and expertise of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Josh Olson and the staff at Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute.
Allow Dr. Olson to help you regain your femininity and confidence in your victory over breast cancer. Call our office in Paradise Valley (480) 423-1973 or in Gilbert at (480) 466-7355, or request a consultation online.
Reasons for Breast Reconstruction
Some women have mastectomies to remove breast cancer. Others choose preventive, or prophylactic, mastectomies if they have a high risk for breast cancer. Federal and Arizona laws require insurance companies to cover breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This coverage may include cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation on the unaffected breast to improve symmetry in the case of a single mastectomy. A woman may choose breast reconstruction to:
- Restore her breasts after a single or double mastectomy
- Recreate her areola and nipple
- Regain a sense of confidence and femininity
Depending on the need for radiation therapy, Dr. Olson can perform breast reconstruction using tissue expanders, breast implants, a latissimus dorsi flap, or a TRAM flap.
For most women, Dr. Olson uses tissue expanders under the chest muscle (pectoralis) first, allowing time for cancer treatment planning and definitive pathology results. The expanders gradually stretch the skin before implants are inserted, helping to create beautiful, natural-looking results.
Dr. Olson may use breast implants by themselves, after tissue expanders, or in conjunction with the latissimus dorsi flap technique.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap
Flap techniques are usually required when there isn't sufficient breast tissue left after a mastectomy for tissue expanders. The latissimus dorsi method involves removing a section of tissue from the back and transferring it to the breast. The tissue remains connected to its blood supply. This approach usually requires a breast implant.
The transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous, or TRAM, flap is similar to the latissimus dorsi flap but uses abdominal tissue. This method usually allows for reconstructing breasts of ample size without the need for implants. Although this approach is not right for everyone, one added advantage is the slimmer midsection that results from removing the donor tissue.
Recovery & Results
Recovery and activity restrictions depend on the type of procedure. Flap procedures require longer recovery. Patients wear surgical dressings such as bandages to protect incisions and a special bra to support their new breasts. Dr. Olson makes sure his patients have the medications and support they need for a safe and effective recovery.
Many women need some time to get used to their new breasts, but reconstruction has been shown to greatly soften the impact, both physical and emotional, of cancer treatment or prevention.