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What are the Breast Reconstruction Options After a Mastectomy?

Deciding and planning to go for breast reconstruction options after a mastectomy is a huge emotional journey. With the advent of newer plastic surgery techniques, the results are quite natural and satisfactory. Ideally, a woman should be given a choice among the various reconstruction options.

The process begins by consulting plastic surgeons who specialise in reconstructive techniques. Understanding your option will help you make an informed decision that suits your needs. As many as 30% of women undergo breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

When it comes to breast reconstructive surgery, there are some options available mimicking the size, shape, and texture of your original breast tissue. Some of them might involve implants while others use grafts from your own body for reconstruction.

Here is a guide about what options are available which will best suit your needs.

Implant Reconstruction

This involves placement of saline or saline implants under the muscles in your chest where the breast tissue has been removed. If there is insufficient muscle left after surgery to carry out reconstruction, the surgeon makes use of an inflatable implant that is gradually filled with saline or silicon over time which allows for the skin of the growth to follow.

Suitability: Small breasts and petite frame

Duration: surgery takes around two hours with a recovery time of two weeks

Pros: Can be used for a double mastectomy as this is best known for symmetrical results

Cons: Not suitable if you intend to undergo radiotherapy afterward as hardening may result.

DIEP or TRAM Flap Reconstruction

DIEP Flap

A DIEP flap involves no muscle and consist of fat, skin and blood vessels cut from lower part of your body and implanted in place of your breast tissue.

TRAM Flap

This is a flap of rectus abdominis, a muscle from your lower abdomen (6 pack muscle) which could be free or pedicled.

Pros: the result is a breast soft in consistency and feels natural. The operation often lasts a lifetime.

Cons: This type of reconstruction is not possible for candidates already bearing scars on their abdomen from previous surgeries. These can droop over time.

LD Flap Reconstruction

LD stands for latissimus dorsi and is a muscle just below your shoulder blade. For reconstruction, it is brought round under the armpit and put over an implant to make a new breast.

Pros: This surgery is comparatively simpler than a DIEP or TRAM flap and requires lesser recovery time. Higher success rate come from the original blood supply that the flap carries with itself to its grated space.

Cons: people who have thicker or paler skin on their back may not have a colour match on the ventral surfaces of their body, i.e., where the breasts are.

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