Restore your figure following your breast cancer treatment
We know that the fight against breast cancer is an emotionally and physically draining experience. The decision to remove one or both of your breasts is often a difficult-yet-necessary one for patients with breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, severe chronic breast pain, or other non-cancerous conditions.
If you have undergone breast cancer treatment in New Orleans and are looking to restore your figure, breast reconstruction may be an option to consider. Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that is performed to restore the shape and appearance of the breast following a mastectomy or other breast surgery. There are several different techniques and approaches to breast reconstruction, including immediate reconstruction, which is performed at the same time as the mastectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction involves creating a new breast mound using the patient’s own tissues, such as muscle, fat, and skin, or by using a breast implant.
In NOLA, breast reconstruction is typically performed by a breast cancer surgeon or a plastic surgeon who is experienced in this type of surgery. The choice of technique and approach will depend on various factors, including the patient’s overall health, the stage of the cancer, and the patient’s personal preferences.
Breast reconstruction can be a complex and lengthy process, and it may involve multiple surgeries over a period of time. However, for many women, breast reconstruction can help to restore a sense of normalcy and self-confidence following breast cancer treatment.
Breast reconstruction following mastectomy is an emotionally rewarding experience that allows your surgeon to rebuild your breasts and restore “wholeness” to your appearance that was taken during your grueling treatment.
Whether your breast cancer was due to a gene mutation or environmental and lifestyle factors, Dr. Sadeghi and his dedicated team are here to help guide you through your mastectomy and breast reconstruction process.
What Is a Mastectomy?
A mastectomy removes part of the breast, the whole breast, or both breasts and is a common treatment for women with more advanced stages of breast cancer.
By removing the breast with the tumor and affected tissue, you can keep cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. The operation can save your life but, in turn, sadly removes an emotionally vital part of your body.
Some women might be uncomfortable with the thought of losing one or both of their breasts, so it helps to know more about the procedure itself and the options for reconstruction.
Which Mastectomy Option Is Right for Me?
While most women desire the least invasive mastectomy option, not every woman is a candidate for every procedure. You must get the input of a trained health professional like Dr. Ali Sadeghi to determine which technique is most appropriate.
Each woman’s story is different, and that’s why Dr. Sadeghi at the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery is dedicated to consulting with breast cancer survivors and understanding their personal needs. He provides compassionate, one-on-one care for each of his patients.
If you want help navigating these important decisions, contact the Sadeghi Center today.
What Are My Options for Reconstructive Surgery?
Dr. Sadeghi offers many types of breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast Reconstruction With Implants
For many years, breast reconstruction used silicone gel or saline implants. At times a tissue expander is placed as a temporary bridge to final reconstruction.
Because of this, implant-based breast reconstruction is most often performed in two stages.
During your initial mastectomy, the tissue expander is placed. This expander is gradually filled over the following weeks or months until an appropriate size is reached. Once the skin and the remaining tissues have stretched, the expander is removed, and the final implant is inserted.
Implant reconstruction may be performed alone or in combination with natural tissue flap reconstruction.
One Stage Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction
During a nipple-sparing mastectomy, implants can be placed to reconstruct the breast mound without needing the tissue expander. This allows the surgery to be completed at the time of the mastectomy without needing second-stage surgery.
Implants will need upkeep and surveillance to maintain proper placement and appropriate aesthetic outcomes.
Breast Reconstruction With Perforator Flaps
Perforator flap reconstructive surgery preserves the skin from your original breast and uses fat from another part of your body (like your tummy, buttocks, or thighs) to recreate the breast tissue. This procedure generally achieves the most normal-looking and normal-feeling breasts.
Your options for natural tissue breast reconstruction include:
- DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforator flap)
- SIEA flap (superficial inferior epigastric artery flap)
- GAP flap (gluteal artery perforator flap),
- PAP flap (profunda artery perforator flap)
- TDAP flap (thoracodorsal artery perforator flap)
- Stacked flaps
Will I Need Additional Breast Enhancement Surgeries?
If you only have one breast removed, your newer breast might have a different shape than your natural breast. The newer breast will probably sit higher (especially if your natural breast sags), and you might consider getting a breast lift for your natural breast so both breasts will match.
Additionally, should you choose an implant for your replacement breast, your implant will not gain or lose weight if you do. Your breasts might look imbalanced over time (if you only had a mastectomy on the affected side). However, the fat used in flap surgery can gain or lose fat with the rest of you.
Breast augmentation with implants or fat transfer breast augmentation can be performed on the unaffected breast to restore symmetry.
Our philosophy is that women should not have to be subjected to deforming breast contours because they have breast cancer.
We can perform local tissue rearrangement, mastopexy, and breast reduction surgery as part of the cancer operation to achieve a result that treats the breast cancer and helps to make the breast look its best.
Should I Choose Immediate or Delayed Reconstruction?
If you are not ready to make any decisions right now, reconstructive surgery can be performed at a later date (delayed reconstruction). You could wait to see how you feel and then decide if reconstructive surgery is for you.
There are some perks to doing both the mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at the same time — you only need to undergo surgery once, and you will only need one recovery period instead of two. Also, doing both simultaneously allows you to preserve your nipple and areola if you so choose.
What If I Only Need a Lumpectomy?
Many women who find their cancer in the early stages are candidates for a partial mastectomy — also known as a lumpectomy. This treatment removes a small part of the breast only (the lump and a small amount of normal tissue, known as a margin), leaving the healthy breast tissue intact.
Clean surgical margins help ensure that all cancerous or abnormal tissue is removed. In cases where cancer is found, lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy to reduce the chances of cancer returning.
While this procedure does not remove significant tissue amounts, reconstructive techniques are still often chosen as lumpectomy defects leave disfiguring scars and deformities on the breast.
Reconstructive procedures can be performed at the time of lumpectomy or years afterward. If you have had lumpectomies that require breast reconstruction, you can still take advantage of Dr. Sadeghi’s innovative techniques.
What Is Lumpectomy and Breast Lift?
Mastopexy (breast lift surgery) is another procedure used during reconstructive surgery.
We can remove the breast cancer using incisions used for a breast lift, and by lifting the breast at the same time, the defect is hidden. A breast lift is then done on the contralateral breast to achieve symmetry.
We have had very positive feedback from patients who undergo this procedure, and most people cannot believe that they have had cancer surgery.
First, the patient’s lumpectomy incision is strategically positioned in the least obvious area.
Often, this means that the incision is placed in the lateral breast, under the breast in the inframammary fold, or the periareolar area. If the patient needs axillary or underarm surgery, it’s sometimes possible to use the same incision that we do for the breast.
Next, Dr. Sadeghi repositions the breast’s remaining fatty tissue to fill the loss created by lumpectomy. The breast can then be lifted to hide the defect.
What Is Oncoplastic Surgery?
Some breast cancer patients may choose to keep their breasts and undergo breast conservation surgery instead of a mastectomy.
Women eligible for lumpectomy may be ideal candidates for oncoplastic surgery (breast conservation surgery) with breast enhancement simultaneously. This cutting-edge surgical discipline combines cancer treatment with plastic surgery to preserve the breasts’ aesthetics.
What Is Corrective “Revision” Breast Reconstruction?
We see many patients seeking corrective breast reconstruction after previous failed breast reconstruction procedures or who have poor breast reconstruction surgery results.
Using Dr. Sadeghi’s highly developed microsurgical procedures, even the poorest reconstructive surgery outcomes can be corrected or dramatically improved. Implants can be removed/replaced, and natural tissue reconstruction can be performed. Correction is also made with fat grafting to the breasts.
What Is Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer?
Lymphedema is localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. The lymphatic system returns fluid via the thoracic duct into the bloodstream, where it is recirculated back to the tissues.
After axillary lymph node surgery, including sentinel lymph node biopsy or axillary lymph node dissection, lymph nodes are removed. The combination of this surgery with postoperative radiation therapy puts patients at risk of developing lymphedema.
During breast reconstruction, lymph nodes can be transferred to the axilla to replace the removed lymph nodes. These new lymph nodes can help reestablish the missing link and redirect the flow of lymphatics back into the bloodstream. This procedure is termed “vascularized lymph node transfer” (VLNT) and requires delicate microsurgical techniques to improve the outcome and help ensure success.
How Much Does a Mastectomy and Reconstructive Breast Surgery Cost?
Since there are many types of mastectomies, many kinds of reconstructive breast surgeries, and a wide range of insurance coverage options, there is no way to estimate the cost of your procedure until after you have met with Dr. Sadeghi for a private consultation.
The 1998 Federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) mandates that insurance plans provide coverage for all phases of breast reconstruction, including revision surgery, to correct symmetry and contour issues. We can help check with your insurance carrier and request a predetermination of benefits.
What Is Recovery Like After Breast Surgery?
Assuming you do both a mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery, you will need to stay one or two days in the hospital and probably take two to three weeks to recover. Your recovery time might be less if you do only one procedure.
You’ll experience some soreness and swelling for a few weeks. You might also experience numbness or tingling in your breasts. Dr. Sadeghi will provide you with detailed instructions on how to manage your recovery. These instructions will be tailored to your specific treatment plan.
Why Should I Choose Dr. Sadeghi to Perform My Mastectomy?
As a double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery and reconstructive breast surgery, Dr. Sadeghi is well-qualified to perform your operation. He has received extensive world-class surgical training, successfully performed thousands of surgeries, and is well-known for his research and contributions to state-of-the-art surgical advancements.
As the founder and medical director of the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery, Dr. Sadeghi provides empathetic, personalized, high-quality care to each of his patients.