Breast Reconstruction Candidacy
In general, breast reconstruction candidates should be in good overall health, with no health complications that could compromise healing. There are several different methods of breast reconstruction, and each carries unique candidacy criteria. Dr. Oren Lerman is a board-certified specialist in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, and can help women regain their confidence and restore the shape of their bust using advanced techniques such as DIEP flap reconstruction. His goal is to help patients look and feel beautiful following the procedure. Dr. Lerman recommends breast reconstruction techniques according to a patient's goals, weight, lifestyle, age, profession, and other factors. To learn more about breast reconstruction candidacy, please schedule a consultation at his Manhattan, NY, practice.
There is a common misconception that candidates for a DIEP flap procedure must be overweight. In truth, candidates only need what can be safely considered excess tissue.
Recommending a Breast Reconstruction Method
Every breast reconstruction method carries unique advantages and requirements. During an in-depth consultation with your surgeon, he or she can recommend a procedure based on your needs and goals:
Autologous (Natural Tissue) Breast Reconstruction
Many surgeons restore the breasts using abdominal skin, fat, and muscle tissue, a technique called transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap reconstruction. Though effective, this approach can involve a longer and more painful recovery time due to the removal of muscle tissue. Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction is a newer technique that only uses abdominal skin and fat, resulting in a faster, more comfortable recovery. Only a relatively small number of surgeons, including Dr. Lerman, are qualified to perform DIEP flap reconstruction.
There is a common misconception that candidates for a DIEP flap procedure must be overweight. In truth, candidates only need what can be safely considered excess tissue. Many patients believe that the DIEP flap approach provides the most natural look and feel. Meanwhile, if a patient wishes to achieve a slimmer profile in the midsection, DIEP flap reconstruction can provide this result along with a restored bust.
Depending on your needs, goals, and your surgeon's assessment, the breasts can also be reconstructed using tissue harvested from the posterior thigh, inner thigh, buttocks, or back. In other cases, your surgeon may recommend combining grafts harvested from two different areas in a technique called stacked flaps.
Implant Breast Reconstruction
Implant breast reconstruction is a process of using breast implants to restore the bust line. Candidates for implant breast reconstruction surgery may be too slim to undergo a more extensive procedure using their own tissue, or do not wish to have any more scarring. The implant procedure is often recommended to older patients who may not have sufficient tissue for undergoing a DIEP flap reconstruction.
Corrective Breast Reconstruction
If you have undergone a breast reconstruction procedure, but feel dissatisfied with the results, you may be a candidate for a corrective breast reconstruction. Based on the results you wish to achieve, the amount of tissue that can be safely transplanted, and the extent of correction you desire, your surgeon can determine if flap reconstruction or breast implants are the best approach.
Preventative Mastectomy & Reconstruction (BRCA+)
Many women choose to undergo a mastectomy before health complications develop. Candidates for a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction procedure can include patients who:
- Have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
- Have breast cancer in one breast, especially if they have a strong family history of breast cancer.
- Test positive during a BRCA test, which identifies mutations to genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which help the body fight breast cancer.
Immediate versus Delayed Reconstruction
Some patients may be good candidates for reconstruction immediately following the mastectomy. However, in other cases, patients may have to wait until radiation or chemotherapy is completed. A qualified surgeon will work closely with your oncologist and other healthcare providers to determine when it is best to proceed with breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction performed by a qualified board-certified surgeon can help you feel beautiful and confident following a mastectomy. To find out if breast reconstruction is right for you, and to explore your options for restoring your bust line, please contact us today.