Breast Reconstruction Options

For many women facing breast cancer, and even those with an increased risk of breast cancer considering a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is an important piece of the healing process and helps them feel more like themselves again after mastectomy and other cancer treatments.

The team at Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery offers two main approaches for reconstructing the breasts. If you are interested in breast reconstruction, our experienced, knowledgeable surgeons, Dr. Robert Graper and Dr. Garrett Harper, will go over each option with you in detail and help you find what is best for you and your individual situation.

Implant-Based Reconstruction

The most common breast reconstruction approach involves rebuilding the breast using the same silicone gel implant that we use in cosmetic breast procedures. While often a two-staged surgery that involves the initial placement of a temporary tissue expander, there are instances when the permanent implant can be placed at the same time as the mastectomy and reconstruction completed in just one surgery.

One of the primary advantages to implant-based reconstruction is that it is a less complex surgery than flap-based reconstruction and easier to recover from. While almost every woman is a candidate for this type of breast reconstruction, not all women have the necessary volume of tissue at the donor site required for flap-based reconstruction.

The downside of implant-based reconstruction is that implants usually do not last a lifetime and may need to be replaced at some point in the future if they rupture, deflate or develop another complication.

Flap-Based Reconstruction

The other breast reconstruction approach involves rebuilding the breast using autologous (i.e., your own natural) tissue. A “flap” of tissue is transferred from one part of your body, such as your abdomen or your back, to your chest to create the new breast.

One of the primary advantages to flap-based reconstruction is that the reconstructed breast does not have any potential risks of implant failure like rupture or capsular contracture. Flaps are also used in cases where radiation may have left remaining breast tissue not healthy or pliable enough to have an implant. In these instances, flap-based reconstruction is sometimes considered the safer option.

As said before, flap procedures are longer and more complex than implant-based reconstruction. There are multiple surgical sites, with two or more areas of the body healing at the same time. Also, there may be concerns about losing muscle strength in the donor area from which the tissue flap was taken.

Discuss Your Options with Our Experts

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when making decisions about breast reconstruction. Dr. Robert Graper and Dr. Garrett Harper can help to develop a reconstruction plan that addresses all of your concerns and helps you achieve your specific goals.

To request an appointment with our breast reconstruction surgeons, please contact our Charlotte practice today.