Breast Reconstruction at Plastic Surgery of Tuscaloosa
Your breasts add curves, femininity, and balance to your figure. So when cancer, injury, or surgery forces removal or disfigurement of the breast, it can affect both your physical and emotional well-being. Breast reconstruction surgery allows for the restoration of the breast with the use of a prosthetic device and/or your body’s own natural tissues. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ross Bunch specializes in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction techniques in order to restore your quality of life, body image, and self-confidence.
At Plastic Surgery of Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, AL, we understand how emotional the reconstruction process can be and strive to create a breast shape that looks and feels natural and mirrors your native breast contours, while being sensitive to the upheaval this causes in your life. If only one breast is affected, we can adjust both sides to ensure your final result is as symmetrical and balanced as possible. Dr. Bunch has many of years of experience in breast reconstruction, and prides himself on his caring bedside manner and his personal attention to every patient making this journey. A successful breast reconstruction is about more than just rebuilding a physical breast; the goal is to make you feel like yourself again, both inside and out.
The Best Time For Reconstruction
The choice to move forward with breast reconstruction is an extremely personal one and should be made by you alone. Generally, the reconstruction process occurs over time and usually requires more than just one stage. Depending on your specific situation, you may be able to choose when you want to start the reconstructive course. Patients who have suffered breast cancer can choose to either:
- Have immediate reconstruction which would begin at the same time as mastectomy
- Elect to delay reconstruction until you heal from mastectomy and fully recover from any additional cancer treatments
The Breast Reconstruction Process
Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure, so Dr. Bunch will review all your options with you based on your unique medical history and goals. His recommendations will be made based on your skin quality, breast size and shape, extent of damage to natural breast tissue, and nipple location, just to name a few. Most patients will require the use of a breast implant to create the specific size and shape; the options for breast implants are extensive and varied, so for more information on the differences between implant options, we encourage you to view our page on Implant Options.
Placement of a prosthetic implant does, however, require a certain amount of healthy skin and breast tissue in which to place the implant. Because these tissues have often been removed or damaged by injury or surgery, there are a variety of options for recreating them during the reconstruction process:
- Tissue Expander: In many cases, sufficient natural tissue remains to harness for the natural creation of new tissue. A temporary implant is placed under the chest wall and gently and systematically expanded over several months, causing the skin to stretch and grow into the desired amount. Then, the prosthetic breast implant can be placed.
- Latissimus Muscle Dorsi Flap: For women who do not have sufficient natural tissue for a tissue expander, tissues can be harvested from the patient’s own body to create the breast pocket that will hold this important. This “FLAP” technique tunnels muscle, fat, and tissue from the back to the breast mound, creating a new shape in which to hold the implant.
- Abdominal Flap: Also known as a TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous Flap) flap, this procedure takes muscle and tissues from the abdomen in order to create the new breast contour. This is a good option when mastectomy or radiation therapy does not leave viable tissue in the breast area.
If only one breast requires reconstructed, Dr. Bunch may recommend the use of a breast lift, reduction, or implant to the other side to create better symmetry. The nipple and areola (colored portion around the nipple) can be reconstructed once the breast has fully stretched and healed.
Though the reconstruction process has come a long way, there are still limitations you need to be aware of such as visible incisions and scars on both the breast and possibly the donor site and a potential lack of sensation on the reconstructed breast. Dr. Bunch employs the most advanced surgical techniques to create the best shape possible with minimal scarring, but the process can be both rewarding and arduous for the patient. Dr. Bunch and his highly trained staff will ensure that you are well-informed as to what you can expect each step of the way.
Contact Plastic Surgery of Tuscaloosa
At Plastic Surgery of Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, AL, Dr. Ross Bunch and his professional staff stand out as a practice offering the most advanced cosmetic and reconstructive procedures in the industry. We are well-established in the community and have a reputation for high quality patient care and excellent customer service. Dr. Bunch is a Board Certified Plastic Surgery who has received extensive training in microsurgery, facial and rhinoplasty surgery, and endoscopic surgery techniques and brings a specialized skill and artistry to every procedure he performs. Our mission is to restore form, function, and beauty to all aspects of your body.
If you are interested in learning more about breast reconstruction, please contact our office at 205-349-0049. We look forward to speaking with you and to scheduling your consultation with Dr. Bunch!