Reconstructive Breast Surgery after Cancer

Reconstructive Breast Surgery after Cancer

When a woman loses a breast to cancer or any other medical problem, she is often left feeling less whole than she did prior to the procedure. Because of that, many women choose to get breast reconstruction surgery. The surgery will create a new breast for the woman. The procedure uses tissue from the patient in order to create a new breast.


In order to create the breast, plastic surgeons will have three options. If there is enough skin and tissue left on the chest where the breast was, plastic surgeons can use that skin for implanting a new breast. However, in most cases, that is not possible. Because of that, plastic surgeons have to make a flap or stretch the tissue. A flap is transported skin, muscle and fat that allows for the breast to be implanted.

The first type of a flap is a tram flap. In order to make this, the plastic surgeon will take muscle, skin, and fat from the abdomen. That will then be used in order to create a new breast for the implant to go into.

Plastic surgeons have an alternative to the tram flap. A latissimus dorsi flap gets the muscle, fat and skin from the back of the patient and uses it in order to reconstruct the breast.


If the plastic surgeon chooses to stretch the tissue instead of creating a flap, an expander can be used in order to stretch out the skin. By stretching out the skin, the breast implant will be able to be used without transferring any donor skin.

While a flap is quicker to do, skin stretching leaves less recovery time for the patient. However, skin stretching will need to be completed for a four to six month period of time prior to the surgery.

After the flap is made or the skin is stretched, a breast implant will be inserted. This has given many women the opportunity to be less self conscious when it comes to their breasts. This surgery has helped many people gain self confidence after losing a breast. Consult a plastic surgeon in your area to find out if breast reconstruction is right for you.

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