Breast Reconstruction in Cornelius
The loss of one or both breasts to breast cancer treatment can completely alter a woman’s self-image. A mastectomy, whether undertaken to remove cancerous tissue, or as a preventive measure, leaves a permanent mark on the body. The absence of one or both breasts may leave women feeling less feminine and sometimes, as a result, less than whole.
Breast reconstruction surgery offers these women the chance to reclaim control of their physical appearance after surgery. The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is a personal choice that is often made by the patient as the final step in a long journey. At North Charlotte Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery we provide patients with the information and support they need to take on this next step.
Because a breast reconstruction procedure is a symbolic step as well as a physical on, we encourage our patients to take time to understand their surgical options and to clearly communicate their surgical goals.
What is breast reconstruction surgery like?
There are a variety of options for breast reconstruction surgery. The reconstructive methods used will depend on a patient’s desired outcomes as well as the physical health and condition of the patient. Dr. Erik Miles is an accomplished surgeon who will take the time during consultation to understand your personal journey and the role that breast reconstruction surgery plays in your road to recovery after breast cancer treatment. He will guide you through your choices and help you understand your breast reconstruction option in depth.
Breast reconstruction with an implant like those used in breast augmentation surgery is commonly recommended because this procedure involves the least amount of down time and does not require tissue to be moved from other structures of the body. Depending on how much skin is left behind after the mastectomy procedure, the skin may need to be stretched and expanded in order to make room for the breast implant. This is accomplished with a device called a tissue expander, which is surgically placed with a procedure similar to a regular breast augmentation. The expander is enlarged in the office for several weeks to months prior to placement of the permanent implant. A similarly sized implant will be used to match your remaining breast in size and shape, however some asymmetry may occur and the implant will feel different than your natural breast. Breast implant reconstruction is often the ideal choice for patients who have undergone double mastectomies for cancer or as a preventive measure.
Another option for breast reconstruction is the use of natural tissue from elsewhere on the body using a flap reconstruction technique. During this procedure fat and skin is moved from the lower abdomen or back to rebuild the lost volume of the breast. Sometimes an implant is used in conjunction with the natural tissue to support the new breast as well as to add shape. While your natural tissue will be shaped to match your existing breast, some natural asymmetry may occur. These procedures typically involve slightly longer recovery time as the tissue removal site needs time to heal as well.
Am I a good candidate for breast reconstruction?
The choice to undertake breast reconstruction surgery is a personal one. Patients should be in relatively good cardiovascular health and fit to undertake the stress of surgery. During your consultation, Dr. Miles will evaluate your health history, breast surgery history and discuss the surgical options available based on your individual goals.
Our office will work with your other physicians to determine the best timeline for reconstruction. Some patients benefit from immediate breast reconstruction which is done on the same day as the mastectomy, while others choose to wait to heal fully from the mastectomy before deciding to undertake reconstruction surgery. Other factors such as ongoing or planned radiation or chemotherapy treatments can impact this decision.
Patients are encouraged to connect with breast cancer support groups in the Charlotte area where they can meet with other women who are undergoing reconstructive surgery or have already experienced reconstructive procedures. Talking to other patients who have been in a similar situation helps patients to understand their options as well as mentally prepare for the various reconstructive procedures that they might be undertaking.
If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery, give our North Charlotte office a call. We are pleased to help you set-up a consultation with Dr. Miles and answer any questions or concerns you may have about the procedure. Breast reconstruction is the final step in a long journey that can offer closure and renewed confidence.
If you are in the Huntersville, Cornelius, and Lake Norman area call us at: (704) 896-5556