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.
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: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Support.html
Local in Las Vegas, is The Caring Place, which is dedicated to easing the journey of those adults touched by cancer as well as pediatric patients diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. An oasis away from medical facilities, The Caring Place provides no-cost programs and services to support, educate and empower those who have or have had cancer as well as their direct caregivers. The programs and services are intended to assist in healing mind, body and soul and are not a replacement for medical care. The Caring Place is committed to improving your quality of life and helping you experience joy and peace. For details about services offered, please refer directly to The Caring Place or call 702-735-8434 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other support groups are available in the Las Vegas area (times subject to change):
- 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
- 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.
For more information on this and our many other procedures, please call us at 702.410.9800 or fill out our consultation form on the right and we will contact you to answer any questions and set up an appointment for you. Please be sure to visit our Patient Reviews Page to see what other patients have to say about Dr. Reynolds or go to our patient before & after photos to see for yourself.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.