Free-Flap Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally rewarding experience for anyone who has lost a breast due to cancer or another condition.
The creation of a new breast can dramatically improve your self-image, self-confidence and quality of life. Although surgery can give you a relatively natural-looking breast, a reconstructed breast will never look or feel exactly the same as the breast that was removed.
Our physicians are trained in several methods of breast reconstruction. We will talk to you about your options and make a decision based on the best possible outcome and your desired results.
During the Free Flap procedure the physician completely removes the tissue from the tummy, cutting it free. The flap (the tissue) is then transplanted to the chest and the tiny vessels are connected to form the breast. A DIEP Flap is one of several Free Flaps that can be used for breast reconstruction.
Is it right for me?
Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Breast reconstruction is a good option for you if:
- You are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment
- You do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
- You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image
Breast reconstruction typically involves several procedures performed in multiple stages. It can:
- Begin at the same time as mastectomy, or
- Be delayed until you heal from mastectomy and recover from any additional cancer treatments
It’s important that you feel ready for the emotional adjustment involved in breast reconstruction. It may take some time to accept the results of breast reconstruction.
What to expect during your consultation
The success and safety of your breast reconstruction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries
- The options available in breast reconstruction surgery
- The likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications
- The course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon, including procedures to achieve breast symmetry
Your surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine your breasts, and take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, and placement of nipples and areolae
- Take photographs for your medical record
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications