Breast reconstruction is a procedure that creates a new breast or breasts after one or both have been partially or entirely removed. A variety of techniques are available for breast reconstruction, ranging from simple insertion of implants to the creation of a whole new natural breast. The procedures may use only your own tissue or can be combined with an implant that produces a soft and natural-looking breast mound. The nipple and surrounding areola can be fashioned during the reconstructive process.
The reconstruction may be performed in conjunction with the primary surgery, immediately following a mastectomy. Secondary stages may be delayed depending on the type of procedure involved and the patient’s health.
Breast mound reconstruction by way of implants alone is a somewhat protracted process in that at the time of breast removal an expander or balloon is placed beneath the chest muscles and skin and the tissue is slowly enlarged by filling the expander with saline solution in a series of office visits. Once the pocket is sufficient for optimal results, the expander is removed and replaced with a permanent implant in an outpatient procedure. Breast mound reconstruction using only your own body tissue is usually performed in a single stage. Occasionally a small preparatory procedure may be performed to ensure optimal results; especially in the case of immediate bilateral (both) breast reconstruction. These procedures utilize your back or abdominal skin, fat and muscle.
Nipple and areola reconstruction can be performed with local tissue, skin grafts and /or tattoos. This phase is usually executed after the breast mound is fully formed. It is a minor procedure performed separately. At the time of your consultation, you and Dr. Spinelli will discuss the best options available, based on your medical history, physical examination, oncologic needs and your personal goals and desires. Dr. Spinelli will work with your oncologists and primary physicians to optimize your treatment.