Top Breast Reconstruction in Annapolis, MD
Breast reconstruction is the surgical restoration of a breast following a mastectomy. Regardless of if the breast was removed to treat cancer or to prevent cancer in a high-risk patient, it can be an emotionally overwhelming time. Whether you have immediate reconstruction at the time of your mastectomy or delayed reconstruction at some point in the future, the decision to pursue reconstruction is a very personal one.
What are the Types of Breast Reconstruction in Annapolis?
There are many different options for restoring a breast (or breasts). The surgical plan will depend on your breast size and shape, the stage of your cancer and any additional treatments recommended (such as radiation), and your goals for your new breast size. The final plan will be something decided on by you and your surgical oncologist.
Immediate breast reconstruction refers to starting the reconstructive process during the same surgical procedure as the mastectomy. Under general anesthesia, your breast surgeon will first perform the mastectomy, and then a plastic surgeon will complete the procedure.
Delayed breast reconstruction refers to waiting until your mastectomy has healed and you have completed any additional treatment you need before beginning breast reconstruction. Delayed reconstruction also relates to women who were not initially sure they wanted breast reconstruction and then come to see a plastic surgeon after they have recovered from their mastectomy and treatment.
While there are many different types of breast reconstruction, they generally fall under two main categories:
Breast reconstruction with an implant
Most often, the first step to reconstruction with a breast implant is the placement of a tissue expander, or temporary implant, which can be gradually filled with saline to stretch out your skin. This tissue expander would be changed to a permanent implant at a second surgery once you have reached the size breast you would like.
Depending on the size and shape of your natural breasts and the location of your cancer, your surgeon may be able to place a permanent implant at the time of your mastectomy (called “direct to implant reconstruction”).
When using an implant to reconstruct your breast, you will likely also need a tissue substitute to add an additional layer of tissue between your skin and the implant.
Breast reconstruction with your own tissue
There are several options for reconstructing your breasts with your own tissue, also known as autologous breast reconstruction. This means using skin, muscle, and fat from your back or tummy to shape into a breast. The tissue used to create a breast is referred to as a “flap.”
Sometimes a flap is done in addition to an implant to bring in softer, healthier skin for your new breast, especially if you required radiation therapy and your skin is scarred.
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Second Stage Breast Reconstruction
Regardless of if you choose implant-based or autologous breast reconstruction, it is common to elect to have additional surgeries after you have healed from your first preliminary reconstruction. Second stage reconstruction, which is Dr. Duggal’s focus, refers to procedures done to improve the shape, symmetry, or size of your breasts.
It could involve exchanging an implant for a different size or type or fat grafting to your breasts to create better shape after reconstruction. Dr. Claire Duggal frequently sees patients who are not yet happy with the cosmetic outcome after breast reconstruction done in the past and who elect to have second stage reconstruction.
FAQS Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction has a low risk of infection, bleeding, wound healing complications, and anesthesia risks. Other risks are specific to the different methods of reconstruction. Flap surgery has the risk of partial or total loss of the flap, and the use of an implant has the risk of firmness (capsular contracture) around the implant. This risk is higher if you have undergone radiation therapy to the breast.
Some patients may choose not to pursue reconstruction and simply continue their lives after their mastectomy incisions have healed. One alternative to breast reconstruction for women who are worried about how they will look in clothes is to wear a breast prosthesis.
Depending on the tumor’s site, size, and stage, some women may be candidates for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, in which the nipple and areola can be saved. If the nipple needs to be removed during the mastectomy, it can be recreated in a later surgery using your own breast skin. A secondary tattoo is then done to color the areola.
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The Sandel Duggal Center for Plastic Surgery is one of the top plastic surgery practices in Maryland, and Dr. Claire Duggal has extensive experience in breast and body enhancement procedures. Schedule a consultation to learn whether breast reconstruction in Annapolis, MD, is right for you and to find out why Dr. Duggal’s patients rate her so highly. Contact us online or call (410) 266-7120.