Women who undergo a mastectomy often make the highly personal decision to have breast reconstruction surgery. Columbia plastic surgeon Dr. John J. Seaberg's experience and wisdom is especially valuable to post-mastectomy patients seeking technical expertise during a difficult time. For many women, an important and final step in their journey to recovery is breast reconstruction surgery. Patients from Jefferson City and throughout mid-Missouri choose Dr. Seaberg to perform the surgery.
If you've decided to reconstruct one or both breasts after a mastectomy, or want more information about breast reconstruction, request a consultation online with Dr. Seaberg. Or call his office at (573) 443-5500 to schedule an appointment.
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There are many different surgical methods used to reconstruct breasts. The 2 primary options are implant reconstruction and flap reconstruction. Flap reconstruction uses tissue from another part of the body to rebuild the breast. Reconstruction using an implant is the most popular method, in part because it involves fewer surgeries and is confined to the breast area. Most patients, though, require a tissue expander before an implant is inserted.
Breast Reconstruction Using a Tissue Expander
Women who undergo a mastectomy typically don't have enough skin to support an implant. Creating that space requires insertion of a tissue expander, which gradually expands the skin. The balloon-like expander is inserted at the time of the mastectomy. Starting about 2 weeks later, and then at weekly intervals, Dr. Seaberg gradually fills the expander with saline solution. When the skin is adequately stretched, the implant is inserted. The process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks.
After the implant is in place, Dr. Seaberg reconstructs a nipple and areola. The areola is darkened with a medical tattoo.
Some women choose to use their own tissue transplanted from another part of their body to create an artificial breast. Although these are more complicated procedures, this method has the advantage of creating a breast that feels more natural.
Dr. Seaberg offers 2 types of flap reconstruction:
- TRAM Flap Method: Skin, muscle, and fat from the lower abdominal area are used to form a new breast. Dr. Seaberg performs the procedure without removing the skin and muscle from its natural blood supply, known as a pedicle flap procedure. You may not be a candidate for this method if you don't have enough fat in your abdominal area.
- Latissimus Flap Method: This procedure uses skin, muscle, and fat from the upper back area. As in the TRAM flap method, the latissimus dorsi muscle used in the breasts reconstruction is never removed completely from its natural blood supply. The method may leave the patient with a slightly weakened back muscle.
The First Step
At a time when you are already preparing for a mastectomy, it may be difficult to think about breast reconstruction. Dr. Seaberg has been performing cosmetic breast surgery for 25 years and understands the emotions you are encountering. During your consultation he will carefully explain your options and provide answers to any questions you might have. He will also coordinate with your oncologist to ensure you receive seamless treatment.