After breast cancer surgery like a mastectomy, many women find it difficult to consider breast reconstruction surgery. However, studies done across the country including one published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that breast reconstruction is beneficial both physically and emotionally for breast cancer patients and survivors.
The process of having a breast removed is mentally trying, and having additional invasive procedures to replace what was lost often gets put to the wayside in favor of emotional healing. However, new advances in breast reconstruction technology and techniques make undergoing breast reconstruction surgery safer and more beneficial than ever.
One common question from many of Dr. Franklyn Elliott’s breast reconstruction patients is how long the breast reconstruction process takes. While the answer to this varies depending on the type of procedure performed and each patient’s individual situation, the average breast reconstruction procedure can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.
A tissue expander procedure can take about an hour to complete, while pedicled TRAM, free TRAM, and DIEP flap reconstruction techniques take 2 to 3 hours depending on the patient and the surgeon. During a pedicled TRAM, muscle and other tissue is removed from the abdomen and relocated to the breast area, while remaining attached to a blood supply. With the free TRAM technique, muscle and fat tissue is removed from a section of the abdomen and reattached to a blood supply in the breast area. In a DIEP flap procedure, tissue is removed from the donor area with no muscle attached to help recreate the breast.
For some women, procedures are spread out in which tissue is removed and relocated to the breast and then tissue expanders are used to help stretch the skin to make room for an implant. In these cases, multiple procedures are necessary to achieve the patient’s desired result.
As the developer of one of the original breast reconstruction techniques first used by breast surgeons, Dr. Elliott will be showcasing the latest in breast reconstruction technology at the Annual Breast Surgery Symposium in Atlanta on January 13th- 15th, 2012.
Contact our office for more information on the different breast reconstruction techniques or to schedule a consultation for a reconstructive or cosmetic surgery procedure. You can also find Dr. Elliott on Facebook and Twitter with the latest in breast cancer and breast reconstruction news as well as cosmetic surgery updates!