Throughout the history of breast augmentation, the technique used to enhance the female shape has commonly been referred to as a “boob job.” It used to be that one could easily spot a woman who had undergone breast augmentation. Today, this is certainly not the case. Breast surgeries have expanded in the area of technique to accommodate a wide variety of needs, including reconstruction after breast cancer treatment. At Keystone Cosmetic Surgery Center, Dr. Kimmel and our staff understand the vast differences between elective breast augmentation and reconstructive surgery. Throughout the process, we make patient wellness our priority.
Reconstructing the breasts after mastectomy or lumpectomy is not as simple as the average breast augmentation. The purpose of reconstruction is to reinstate the feminine shape of the breasts after natural tissue has been surgically removed. Mastectomy may remove varying degrees of breast tissue and skin, including the areolas and nipples. Therefore, reconstruction is often a process rather than a one-time event.
Breast reconstruction is a very healing journey for women who choose this path. In some cases, it is possible for the oncology and plastic surgery team to work together in a single series of procedures to remove natural tissue and immediately insert breast implants. Often, though, the path begins more slowly.
Multi-stage breast reconstruction may initially focus on creating space within the chest for future implants. This is accomplished by inserting tissue expanders at the time of mastectomy. A tissue expander could be likened to a balloon. It is added as an empty sac behind the pectoral muscle. A few weeks after installation, the expansion process begins. Every week or two, a small amount of saline is injected into a port in the tissue expander. This schedule may continue for a few months until the desired amount of skin and tissue stretching has been achieved. Then, we wait; we wait for the body to rest and heal a bit more before performing the second surgery in which tissue expanders are replaced with saline or silicone breast implants, maintaining focus on the patient’s well-being throughout the process.
Breast reconstruction is a complicated matter that requires expert care. Learn more about Dr. Kimmel’s training and experience in a personal consultation visit in our Hazelton or Pottsville office. Call to schedule your appointment today.