breast reconstruction - Silicone gel-filled breast implants

Understanding Breast Reconstruction

According to Susan G. Komen research, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide.  In 2012, it was estimated that 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer occurred worldwide.  All insurances will cover breast reconstruction following breast cancer, as well as coverage for procedures to provide symmetry to the contralateral side (if only one breast was affected).  It is important for patients suffering from the devastating results of breast cancer to know their options.

Tissue Expander/Implant Reconstruction

The most common option chosen for reconstruction is the implant based breast reconstruction.  Following the mastectomy a tissue expander is placed under your skin and muscle.  A tissue expander functions to stretch the chest skin to create a pocket in which to place an implant.  Once the pocket has been expanded to the desired implant size, the patient undergoes a second surgery in which the tissue expander is removed and replaced with a permanent implant that is softer and looks more natural.  This reconstructive technique may also be used to correct breast volume asymmetry following a lumpectomy.

Autologous Reconstruction

In cases where the chest wall skin is inadequate to cover an implant, such as a breast that has radiation damage, there are procedures that can move healthy skin into the breast region for reconstruction. The TRAM flap surgery moves fat and skin from your stomach to your breasts.  This procedure usually allows for enough fat transfer that the breasts look full.

The latissimus muscle and overlying skin can also be used in breast reconstruction. It is dissected as a “flap” and rotated onto the chest to create a new breast. In most cases, this is not enough volume and so an implant is used to augment the volume to the desired size.

Nipple and Areola Reconstruction

In many cases, the nipple is not spared for reconstruction.  The nipple shape can easily be recreated using the skin on your breast.  After the newly formed nipple, many patients have the areola coloring tattooed.

Breast Cancer Support Groups

If you or a loved one is suffering from breast cancer, it is important that you have the necessary support in this uphill climb.  Some may have family, friends, or other co-survivors who are closely involved in the process while others may not.  Either way, there are many options close by to help you through this time.  Below is a list of support groups and the times and places they meet in and around the Las Vegas valley.  To find a support group in another area or learn more about support groups, you can go to the Susan G. Komen official website:

  • WISH (Women in Support of Healing) Group
    Meets 1st Wednesday of each month from 6:00pm-7:30pm
    Southwest Medical Associates
    2300 W. Charleston Blvd, meets in the Auditorium
    Facilitated by the Center for Compassionate Care
    Call 702-796-3167 for more information
  • Breast Cancer Support Group
    Meets 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from 11:00am-12:30pm
    The Breast Center at Sunrise
    3006 South Maryland Pkwy, Suite 250
    Facilitated by the Center for Compassionate Care
    Call 702-784-1947 for more information
  • Breast Cancer Support Group
    Meets 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at 6:00pm
    Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center – Henderson
    100 N. Green Valley Pkwy, Suite 330
    Call 702-616-4900 for more information
  • Pahrump Breast Cancer Support Group
    Meets 2nd Friday of each month from 10:00am-11:30am
    Desert View Hospital (Pahrump, NV)
    360 South Lola Lane, Pahrump, meets in the Conference Room
    Call 1-866-471-3273 for more information
  • Young Survivors Support Group (women 40 years and younger)
    Meets 2nd Wednesday of each month from 6:00pm-7:30pm
    The Breast Center at Sunrise
    3006 South Maryland Pkwy, Suite 250
    Call 702-784-1947 for more information
  • Young Survival Coalition Support Group (women 40 years and younger)
    Meets 1st Tuesday of each month from 6:00-7:30pm
    The Caring Place
    4425 S. Jones Blvd, Suite 1
    Call 702-871-7333 for more information
  • Breast Cancer Peer Counseling
    Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center – West
    7220 S. Cimarron Road
    Call 702-616-4910 to schedule a free peer counseling session with a trained breast cancer survivor counselor.
  • Breast Cancer Support Services
    Center for Compassionate Care
    4131 Swenson St.
    Individual, couples, family, and telephone counseling are available Monday-Friday for those affected by a breast cancer diagnosis.
    Call 702-796-3167 to schedule an appointment.
asps member surgeon MOC PS Mentor Natrelle Sientra