{Aired 06.21.14} This show will discuss the options available to women who have been treated for breast cancer.  we are here to give you an update on the newest advances in breast reconstruction featuring a special guest, double board certified plastic surgeon Dr Rafi Bidros. Dr. Bidros is passionate about helping women who are going through treatment for breast cancer and are looking for the solution to repair their breasts after a single or double mastectomy.

Image (24)According to the American Cancer Society:

  • About 232,570 new cases of invasive breast cancer have been reported in 2013 
  • There are about 40,000 deaths from breast cancer
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US other than skin cancer
  • Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer

Although beast cancer awareness and prevention  is a popular topic unfortunately  70% of these women will be unaware of their options when facing a mastectomy. Since 1998 federal law requires insurance carriers to cover reconstructive procedures which is rarely spoken about when a women is making decisions to have single or double mastectomy.  Significant advances have been made in the treatment of breast cancer and breast reconstruction thus making it important for women’s recovery and outlook  to know what options are available.

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a series of surgical procedures performed to recreate a breast. Reconstructions are commonly done after one or both breasts are removed as a treatment for breast cancer. This procedure includes secondary procedures such as nipple revision, areola tattooing, etc. Basically anything needed to rebuild the removed breast.

Breast reconstruction surgery can be either immediate or delayed. With immediate reconstruction, a surgeon performs the first stage to rebuild the breast during the same operation as the mastectomy. A method called skin-sparing mastectomy may be used to save enough breast skin to cover the reconstruction. With delayed reconstruction, the surgeon performs the first stage to rebuild the breast after the chest has healed from the mastectomy and after the woman has completed therapy. A third option is immediate-delayed reconstruction. With this method, a tissue expander is placed under the skin during the mastectomy to preserve space for an implant while the tissue that was removed is examined. If the surgical team decides that the woman does not need radiation therapy, an implant can be placed where the tissue expander was without further delay. However, if the woman will need to have radiation therapy after mastectomy, her breast reconstruction can be delayed until after radiation therapy is complete. Breasts can be rebuilt using implants (saline or silicone) or autologous tissue (that is, tissue from elsewhere in the body). Most breast reconstructions performed today are immediate reconstructions with implants. (source cancer.gov)

Breast Reconstruction Team

There is a team of doctors involved when a patient has been diagnosed with breast cancer – this team can include  medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, social workers, oncology nurses, genetic counselors, physical therapists, radiologists and health educators.

When selecting a surgeon make sure they have these qualities to ensure your experience is pleasant while effective:

  • Technologically / surgically advanced
  • Has the eye for the artistic – artistic value is important in the reconstructive outcome
  • Has personality and a great bedside manner along with a compassionate heart

Why is it Important to Have a Plastic Surgeon in the Initial Consult?

A plastic surgeon’s role includes the final step of breast reconstruction – the look of the patient’s body which will effect their body image. Although this may sound vain to those thinking, “just be happy you survived cancer”, living with a mastectomy scar can become a constant reminder of what happened and how you will never be the same.  After losing a breast – a woman can feel less than – but with the help of the plastic surgeon her body can be restored and in same cases look better than before. This type of transformation is the reason why a law now exists to help women repair there physical and mental states after surviving breast cancer.

The involvement of the plastic surgeon at the beginning of the process can really change the approach of the procedure. While the other team members are focused on the cure, the plastic surgeon is focused on the body after survival. Their input can really help save skin needed to repair the breasts to a point where the breasts never have signs of breast cancer. This includes making less invasive incisions and preserving breast skin, nipples and areolas.  

What are the Different Types of Breast Reconstruction

Types of Flap Reconstruction

  • TRAM Flap
  • Abdominal Free Flap
  • LD Flap
  • Gap Flap
  • Inner Thigh Free Flap
Secondary Procedures:
  • Surgery on the opposite breast
  • Implant Reconstruction Revision
  • Flap Revisions
  • Nipple Areola Reconstruction
  • Nipple Areola Tattooing

A special thank you to Dr. Rafi Bidros, lead surgeon of MyBodyMD for sharing his expertise.

Real Talk is brought to you by Westside Surgical – Houston’s First Breast Hospital.
For more information about Breast Reconstruction call 713.321.2280 or visit WestsideSurgical.net