Whether you have had a mastectomy after a cancer diagnosis, or you are considering a prophylactic mastectomy because of one or more significant risk factors for developing breast cancer, one of the many decisions you will have to make is what kind of reconstruction is best for you. Most often, breast reconstruction is done immediately following mastectomy at the same surgical procedure, but occasionally, delayed reconstruction will be considered in women who have had a mastectomy in the past where immediate reconstruction was not offered, or immediate reconstruction is delayed for medical reasons.
Whatever your timing, you have two main options for breast reconstruction: tissue-based reconstruction flap vs. implant reconstruction.
You can review several options and different techniques with your plastic surgeon for both choices. There is no “right” choice between the various options – but there will be one that is right for you, your anatomy, your medical history, and your outcome preferences.
Breast Reconstruction: Flap vs. Implant
There are two main methods of breast reconstruction: flap vs. implant. Each entails several techniques, the most common of which are outlined in the table below.
Breast Reconstruction Techniques
|For a flap reconstruction surgery, skin, tissue, and sometimes muscle are taken from one area of the patient’s body and transferred to the chest to create the breast mound. The plastic surgeon uses microsurgical techniques to reconnect the blood vessels to ensure proper blood flow to the transplanted tissue. There are many different techniques for flap reconstructions.
|During implant reconstruction, implants are placed within the mastectomy site, most often above the chest wall muscles under the skin, but occasionally partially below the muscle, to recreate the breast mound. This procedure has multiple variations, from the type of implant to how the implant is held in place and may require staged tissue expansion.
Shared Decision-Making With Your Plastic Surgeon
Your breast reconstruction journey will be unique and should be tailored to your needs and goals. To get the best outcomes from your reconstruction, you should feel comfortable and confident discussing all your options with your plastic surgeon. That includes not only the category of breast reconstruction: natural tissue or flap vs. implant, but also the method of flap or implant reconstruction, including implant choice, placement, and all the other considerations along the way.
All surgeries have specific pros and cons, risks and benefits, but clear and open communication with your plastic surgeon will help you decide which route to take. There is no correct choice in this process, but there will be a choice among all the options that is correct for you, and your plastic surgeon can help you determine that answer.
See Why Harris Plastic Surgery Is The Right Choice for You
Choosing a plastic surgeon for your breast reconstruction is about more than just finding the most qualified physician. You should choose a plastic surgeon with a long history of excellent surgical outcomes who will help empower you to make the choices that fit your life and goals. You also need a support staff who can walk you through all aspects of the process, including your most specific insurance reimbursement questions.
Dr. Harris and Joanne Parrinello have worked together through countless successful operations with seamless patient care management. Dr. Harris has extensive training and experience in all breast reconstruction techniques, including:
Dr. Harris is also active on the Medical Advisory Board of the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition.
Joanne has nearly two decades of experience in helping patients navigate the world of plastic surgery and insurance coordination. She is well-known for providing patients with a low-stress experience as the point of contact for their surgical scheduling and helping patients get the most out of their insurance coverage.
Choose Harris Plastic Surgery for your Breast Reconstruction
At Harris Plastic Surgery, we believe every patient who walks through our door is a unique combination of all her life experiences, knowledge, and goals. You are more than a procedure to us, and we are here to guide you through every step of the breast reconstruction: flap vs. implant decision-making process.
Bringing Patient Advocacy to Breast Reduction and Reconstruction
Contact Harris Plastic Surgery if you are ready to start your breast reconstruction or would like more information about a personalized breast reconstruction plan.
Stephen U. Harris, MD FACS
Dr. Stephen U. Harris is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and recognized expert in breast reduction and reconstruction surgeries, having performed thousands in his career. When it comes to patient care, his philosophy is that every surgery should improve his patient’s overall quality of life, not just their appearance. Dr. Harris stays up-to-date on all the latest advancements in breast augmentation, reconstruction, and reduction and is a recognized innovator in the field. In fact, he was the first surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital to offer primary prepectoral implant breast reconstruction, as well as secondary prepectoral revision surgery.
Dr. Harris also serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York and is an active staff surgeon (and former Chief of Plastic Surgery) at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.