October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the doctors at Renaissance Plastic Surgery want to make sure you are fully aware of your options. Breast cancer is the second most fatal form of cancer for women, and early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to your ability to make a full recovery. For this reason, we encourage you to perform monthly breast self-exams to detect any changes that may be cause for concern. Once you reach the age of 40, you should go for a mammogram every year.
This increasing emphasis on early detection and treatment has helped a greater percentage of women win their battle against breast cancer in recent years. For many women, breast reconstruction is an important part of the recovery process, and our plastic surgeons will work closely with you and your oncologist to identify the right treatment plan for you.
The Impact of Breast Cancer on American Women
There is a good reason why an entire month is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. The condition affects a tremendous number of women. According to breastcancer.org:
- Approximately 12% of American women (1 out of 8) will develop breast cancer at some point in their life
- 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed during 2019
- As of 2019, over 3.1 million American women are being treated or have completed treatment for breast cancer
- It is expected that there will be approximately 41,760 breast cancer fatalities in 2019
- Your risk of breast cancer is almost twice as high if you have a mother, sister or daughter that has been diagnosed with the condition
- Approximately 85% of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the condition
Understanding Your Breast Reconstruction Options
Breast reconstruction is an important way to help restore a feminine, natural looking breast appearance after a mastectomy. Many women find that this is a crucial step to moving on after breast cancer. During your initial consultation, our plastic surgeons will review your options with you in detail.
There are two options regarding the timing of your breast reconstruction:
- At the time of your mastectomy – This option offers several benefits: it expedites the process of restoring your breast appearance and spares more of your natural skin. However, this option isn’t ideal for all women, especially if you need to undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy as part of your breast cancer treatment.
- Delayed reconstruction – As the name implies, your breast reconstruction procedure is performed at a later date. This will allow you to recover from your radiation or chemo treatments before undergoing the rigors of another surgical procedure.
In addition, there are several different techniques used to perform breast reconstruction. At Renaissance Plastic Surgery, we offer the following options:
- TRAM flap reconstruction – This technique involves using a flap of tissue, skin, fat and muscle from the abdominal region to rebuild the breast. This tissue is tunneled underneath the skin during this process, preventing the tissue form being separated from the body.
- LD flap reconstruction – Donor tissue is harvested from the upper back in order to reconstruct the breast. The tissue is tunneled through the chest wall and as with the TRAM flap method, it won’t be separated from your body.
- Tissue expander and implant reconstruction – A temporary tissue expander is used to help expand the skin and muscle in the breast area prior to placing a breast implant. Tissue expanders are inserted into your chest and gradually inflated with a sterile saline solution over several months. Once your skin is sufficiently stretched, our plastic surgeons will remove the tissue expander and replace it with a breast implant.
- Direct-to-implant reconstruction – This technique allows us to place the breast implant without using tissue expanders. It is an effective option for women who have undergone a nipple-sparing mastectomy.
Contact our St. Louis Plastic Surgeons
Start your journey to recovery after breast cancer by speaking with our plastic surgeons in person. We’ll explain your options in detail and work closely with your oncologist to ensure our recommended breast reconstruction approach aligns with your breast cancer treatment plan.
Please contact Renaissance Plastic Surgery using the form on this page or call 636-896-0600 today to schedule a breast reconstruction consultation. We serve patients St. Louis and the surrounding areas of Missouri.