If you are facing the decision to have breast reconstructive surgery, there are two options available – implants or tissue-based breast reconstruction. Deciding on which procedure is best for you can be confusing, especially if you are dealing with additional medical decisions for breast cancer treatment. Dr. Comizio understands the difficult decisions when making long-term solutions.
Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction
If you are considering breast reconstruction. this may be the first time you have ever considered getting implants. If you are faced with losing one or both breasts, it becomes a priority to regain your natural body contour and find something that allows you to feel whole. In this case, breast implants are a great viable option.
If you choose implant-based breast reconstruction, the first step is to have temporary implants, or tissue expanders, placed in your breast which can be done at the time of a mastectomy. Some patients opt to pursue breast reconstruction at a later date – delaying the breast reconstruction until all of their cancer treatments are finalized. The choice of immediate or delayed breast reconstruction depends on your preference and personalized treatment plan that will be formed in collaboration with Dr. Comizio and your oncologist. These tissue expanders are inflated during surgery and continue to be inflated post-operatively. Once the expanders have made the breast pocket large enough, your temporary expanders will be replaced with either silicone or saline breast implants, depending on the type of implants you choose.
Implant and flap based reconstruction can be complicated by radiation treatments – either in the past or in the future after the mastectomy is performed. It is important to have a discussion with your breast surgeons to determine if implant based reconstruction is advisable based on planned cancer treatments.
Tissue-Based Breast Reconstruction
Women who are looking for an alternative to implant based reconstruction, or are not a candidate for implants can opt for tissue-based or tissue flap breast reconstruction. This procedure can be performed during a mastectomy or later, after cancer treatments are completed. Tissue-based breast reconstruction typically involves harvesting skin, tissue and blood vessels from your abdomen or back to help rebuild your breasts.
While a preferred choice by some, tissue-based breast reconstruction surgery involved multiple factors. Undergoing this procedure involves several surgical sites, which could add to post-operative complications. In addition, depending on your size and physique, you may not have enough tissue available for harvesting to properly reconstruct your breasts. Further, tissue flap surgery will lengthen the surgical time under anesthesia for women undergoing a mastectomy. This type of reconstruction carries a longer hospital stay compared to implant based reconstruction where you are usually home after one night in the hospital.
Choosing Your Breast Reconstruction Option
Choosing a breast reconstruction option may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s not one that you need to go through alone. Dr. Comizio will be by your side listening to your preferences and concerns, reviewing your medical and family history, and examining your breasts and body to come up with a recommendation and personalized treatment plan just for you.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Comizio today, call (973) 775-9248.