In some cases where breast preserving surgical procedures are not a viable treatment options many women have to face the tough reality of going through a mastectomy surgery.
A mastectomy is a surgery which removes the entirety of one’s breast tissue, as apposed to a lumpectomy which only removes a part of the tissue. Most mastectomy patients go through the procedure to remove cancer that has spread to multiple areas of the breast. In some cases, patients may opt for a mastectomy prophylactically in order to prevent a future case of breast cancer.
Going through a mastectomy can be an incredibly traumatizing experience for patients because of the abrupt change their body’s appearance goes through. This change can be particularly troubling for many female patients who see their breasts as an important part of their feminine identity.
In an effort to stave off the emotional and physical stress of living without breasts the Breast Center at the Surgery Group of Los Angeles works together with reconstructive plastic surgeons in order to offer their patients the best care possible.
Thanks to advancements in surgical technique reconstructive surgery can be preformed immediately after one’s mastectomy surgery. This process is referred to as Immediate Reconstruction.
Immediate reconstruction has many benefits for patients. The first of which is that it eliminates the need for a separate reconstructive surgery, allowing patients to resume their lives faster. Furthermore, studies have shown that the cosmetic outcome of Immediate Reconstruction is often better than reconstruction that takes place later on.
Being a candidate for Immediate Reconstruction requires a significant amount of cooperation between your plastic surgeon, oncology treatment team and of course, your breast cancer surgeon. SGLA’s breast cancer surgeons, Dr. Elizabeth Arena and Dr. Joshua Ellenhorn, have significant experience in mastectomies with immediate reconstruction and work with some of the best plastic surgeons in the Los Angeles area, like Dr. Ryan Spivak, to treat these patients.
A mastectomy with immediate reconstruction is an incredibly demanding procedure, requiring utmost level of care that can be provided by a well trained surgical team. The procedure begins with your breast cancer surgeon. They typically make an oval shaped incision over the nipple through which they will remove the breast tissue. In some cases, referred to as nipple sparing mastectomies, the nipple can be preserved by placing incisions at the bottom of the breast or near the nipple. In addition to removi
ng breast tissue, your surgeon may also remove some or even all of the lymph nodes under the patient’s arm. This decision depends on the stage of the patient’s breast cancer.
Once the breast tissue has been removed it is time for the plastic surgeon to begin their work on reconstructing the breast. Breasts can be reconstructed using a patient’s own tissue or through the use of breast implants, referred to as prosthetic reconstruction. The implants, which are either made from silicone or saline, can be placed either above or below the patient’s pectoral muscle. Some surgeons may also utilize artificial skin to line the breast pocket in order to add extra support to the breast. These decisions are made by the plastic surgeon and the patient, based off of the patient’s own aesthetic goals and the plastic surgeon’s judgement.
The expert breast surgeons at SGLA have the experience and knowledge needed to tackle these incredibly important and difficult cases. Dr Arena, and Dr. Ellenhorn’s surgical know how and their relationships with expert reconstructive surgeons ensure that their mastectomy with immediate reconstruction patients are in the best hands.