“I am truly blessed to have a doctor so gifted by God with a brilliant mind, skillful hands, and a passionate heart for his patients – I know you have made many sacrifices for me and have been at my side when I needed you; your devotion is greatly appreciated.” – Judy
I fully understand the toll that breast cancer has on a woman both physically and emotionally. After undergoing a mastectomy or lumpectomy following a diagnosis, a breast cancer survivor can be overcome by a lack of self-confidence. For over 20 years, I have crafted my expertise in breast reconstruction and have continued to utilize various innovative surgical techniques. With a strong emphasis on restoring the breasts in the most natural way possible, I aim to ensure the best possible care and results for all of my patients. For patients who are interested in undergoing breast reconstruction, I will share a few of the top common questions patients typically ask before/after undergoing surgery:
Q: Who is a good candidate for breast reconstruction surgery?
A: Breast reconstruction is an elective procedure because it is never medically necessary. Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after a mastectomy or lumpectomy or delayed until all cancer treatment is completed or when the patient is ready. Some women may even choose not to have surgery after a mastectomy at all. Other women may choose to undergo breast reconstruction to maintain their body image and have a sense of closure from their experience with cancer. During a consultation, I will examine the skin, muscle, and residual breast tissue, and depending on your individual case and goals, I will create a personalized treatment plan to provide the most natural breast reconstruction outcome.
Q: How is breast reconstruction surgery performed?
A: When performing the procedure, I first examine the breast and additional areas where skin, tissue, and muscle can be repositioned to restore the breasts if a flap reconstruction method is used. If the patient doesn’t have a suitable amount of tissue, I will insert a silicone or saline implant and tissue expanders, which are balloon-like devices inserted under the skin to gradually stretch the skin, may be utilized to allow space for the breast implant. To improve symmetry and form of the breasts for patients who’ve undergone a full or partial mastectomy, a breast lift, breast augmentation, or breast reduction may also be recommended.
Q: Will my reconstructed breast look and feel the same as my original breast?
A: Usually, the breast may appear flatter or more round depending on whether it is rebuilt using harvested tissue or breast implants. When undergoing breast reconstruction, the size and shape will never be exactly the same as the original breast, but each patient can opt for a smaller or larger size. While a reconstructed breast may mirror the appearance of the original, it will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces. My overall goal is to exchange the patient’s breast tissue, skin, and the nipple-areolar that were removed during mastectomy to construct new, natural-looking breasts that fit the patient’s body accordingly.
To help raise awareness for breast cancer, I encourage you to get involved with The Sport of Giving, a 501(c)(3) grassroots organization supporting women’s cancer care and prevention with special fundraiser events and Life After the Fight, to promote breast cancer survivors’ professional ventures. To learn more about breast reconstruction at Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C., please contact us to schedule a consultation. Be sure to connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic and reconstructive news.