MidAmerica Plastic Surgery: Ryan Diederich, MD
4955 South State Route 159 #1
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
MAPS: (618) 288-7855
SPA: (618) 307-6233

Monday & Wednesday: 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Breast Reconstrucion

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What is Breast Reconstruction?

The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore the breast(s) to near normal shape, appearance, symmetry and size following mastectomy, lumpectomy, or other trauma. There are many different ways MidAmerica Plastic Surgery can help you achieve your personal reconstructive goals each with their distinct advantages.

Reconstruction and Breast Cancer

Treatment should be a team approach and include:

  • Your primary care physician
  • General surgeon/Breast surgeon
  • Plastic surgeon
  • Oncologist
  • Radiologist/Radiation oncologist

When Should I have Breast Reconstruction?

Immediate

This is becoming the most frequent method of breast reconstruction.

  • Advantages: Immediate post-mastectomy reconstruction offers the psychological and aesthetic advantage of waking from the mastectomy procedure with a lesser deformity and reconstruction well underway.
  • Disadvantages: Many women find the primary drawback of immediate reconstruction to be the longer surgery and recovery times. Also, subsequent radiation treatment can compromise the reconstructed tissue.

Delayed

In select patients (such as those with advanced disease, when radiation may be necessary), delay is necessary.

  • Advantages: Many women feel that delaying reconstruction gives them time to focus on treatments and research the type of reconstruction that best suits their needs.
  • Disadvantages: Some patients find that being without a breast for an extended or unknown period of time can be emotionally difficult.

Types of Breast Reconstruction

  • Implant Reconstruction
  • Autologous (your own tissue)

Implant Reconstruction

During this type of Breast Reconstruction, a breast implant is utilized similar to a cosmetic breast augmentation. This typically requires a staged approach with a tissue expander being placed first. A tissue expander is similar to an empty breast implant that is placed at the time of reconstruction. Fluid is slowly added to the expander until the appropriate volume is reached (or sometimes slightly over-filled). Once this is completed, the tissue expander is removed and a permanant implant (either saline or silicone) is placed to complete the reconstruction.

Hospital Stay: 1-2 days
Recovery Time: several weeks

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • Have no available tissue options (for an autologous procedure).
  • Do not desire an autologous operation.
  • Do not have compromised tissue at the mastectomy site.
  • Have no history of radiation to the breast or chest wall.
  • Are having prophylactic mastectomies.
  • Want bilateral reconstruction.
  • Are having immediate reconstruction after nipple-areola-sparing mastectomy.
  • Desire an operation on the opposite breast to help improve symmetry.

TRAM Flap (From the Abdomen)

This is a common method of utilizing your own tissue to reconstruct the breast. Abdominal tissue is utilized to reconstruct the breast by leaving it connected to the rectus muscle that provides blood supply.

Hospital Stay: 2-5 days
Recovery Time: several weeks to several months

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • Desire reconstruction using your own tissue.
  • Do not want or are not a candidate for implant reconstruction.
  • Have enough lower abdominal wall tissue to create one or both breasts.
  • Have not had prior abdominal surgery.
  • Have previously had chest wall radiation.
  • Have had failed implant reconstruction.
  • Are having immediate reconstruction at the time of skin-sparing mastectomy.
  • Are having delayed reconstruction following prior mastectomy.

Latissimus Flap (From the Back)

This is a very common method of using tissue from your back to reconstruct the breast. It provides excellent soft tissue coverage, especially if radiation is necessary. Often to achieve the desired size a breast implant is also required.

Hospital Stay: 1-3 days
Recovery Time: several weeks

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • Are thin with small breast volume.
  • Have excess back tissue.
  • Have had previous radiation and are having an implant reconstruction.
  • Are not a candidate for other autogenous procedures involving your own tissue.
  • Are having a partial Breast Reconstruction to correct a lumpectomy defect.
  • Have thin skin that requires extra coverage for an implant.
  • Desire a more natural appearance than that of an implant alone.
  • Are having immediate or delayed reconstruction.

DIEP (From Abdomen)

The DIEP flap procedure was developed in an effort to save the rectus muscle of the abdomen during Breast Reconstruction. The abdominal tissue is taken off and a single set of blood vessels are sewn under the microscope to reconnect the tissue.

Hospital Stay: 3-5 days
Recovery Time: several weeks to several months

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • Desire reconstruction using your own tissue and want to minimize muscle loss in the abdomen.
  • Have had prior abdominal wall surgery that cut the abdominal wall muscle in the upper abdomen and desire using your own tissue.
  • Do not want or are not a candidate for implant reconstruction.
  • Have enough lower abdominal wall tissue to create one or both breasts.
  • Have previously had chest wall radiation.
  • Have had failed implant reconstruction.
  • Are having immediate reconstruction at the time of skin-sparing mastectomy.
  • Are having delayed reconstruction following prior mastectomy.

Will My Insurance Cover Breast Reconstruction?

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) requires all health plans that cover mastectomies offer post-mastectomy and reconstructive surgery benefits.

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ryan Diederich

Dr. Diederich is a Southern Illinois native realizing his dream of giving back to the community. He helps patients feel and look their best with his surgical skills and compassionate care.

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Now What?

Dr. Ryan Diederich is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in a range of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures at Mid-America Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery in Glen Carbon, IL. If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon east of St. Louis, you can schedule a consultation, or call us at (618) 288-7855 to schedule an appointment.

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*This article is intended as a guideline only. This is not intended as medical advice. There are no guarantees written or implied from the information presented here. Only a consultation can provide an appropriate evaluation and discussion regarding any procedure. Refer to your physician for medical decision making and advice.