For many women facing breast cancer, breast reconstruction is a key part of the physical and emotional healing process. The procedure restores part or all of a woman’s breast to its original appearance. Through breast reconstruction, Dr. Genaro Valladolid can help improve a patient’s self-confidence and help her feel more like herself after cancer.
Dr. Valladolid has performed numerous breast reconstruction procedures in his career and is known for producing natural-looking results using the most advanced techniques and materials.
Along with his entire team, Dr. Valladolid is committed to providing extraordinary patient care during a period of time that can be emotionally stressful for women. He works closely with every patient to design a plan tailored to her unique goals and needs and ensure she is confident in her care.
There are many factors to consider when planning breast reconstruction, from the timing of the procedure to the reconstructive approach employed. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons, all of which Dr. Valladolid explains at length to patients.
Some women opt for immediate reconstruction, in which the breast is recreated at the time of mastectomy or lumpectomy. Other women opt for delayed reconstruction, which is performed later on, after cancer treatment has been completed and the patient has recovered.
The most common way to recreate one or both breasts lost to cancer is with the placement of saline or silicone breast implants. Implants are composed of a silicone shell filled with either saline or silicone gel material.
In some cases where reconstruction is delayed, a skin expansion device may be used prior to implant placement to stretch the skin over the breast area. The skin expansion device is gradually filled with a saltwater solution; once the skin has stretched enough, the device is removed and the permanent implant placed.
Flap-based reconstruction recreates the breast using tissue taken from other areas of the body such as the abdomen or back. This approach eliminates any safety concerns about artificial implants and produces a breast that looks and moves naturally.
The tissue flap may remain attached to its original blood supply and “tunneled” beneath the skin to the chest; or, it may be surgically removed and transplanted to the chest.
Once the breast has been reconstructed using an implant or tissue flap, the areola and nipple can be reconstructed using techniques like three-dimensional tattooing.
Breast reconstruction patients usually have some pain and discomfort in the days immediately following surgery. The discomfort can affect the chest and, in the case of flap-based reconstruction, the donor site (i.e., the back or abdomen). Pain medication is prescribed to help alleviate these aftereffects.
Dr. Valladolid provides complete instructions to minimize other aftereffects such as bruising and swelling, and information to help patients ensure a smooth recovery from surgery. Most patients are able to resume work one to two weeks after surgery and the rest of their normal activities within six weeks of surgery.
With the proper scar management, breast reconstruction scars will fade significantly. Although they will never completely disappear, patients are usually happy to trade some scarring for a natural breast shape and appearance.
For more information about breast reconstruction, please request a consultation with Dr. Valladolid today. Contact one of his offices, in Scottsdale or Mesa, by calling (480) 770-5015 today.