October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 15th, 2014 marks BRA Day, or Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, celebrating raising awareness and education on post-mastectomy breast reconstruction surgery options. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 95,589 breast reconstruction procedures were performed in 2013. With over 20 years of experience as a double-board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, I have witnessed firsthand the toll that breast cancer has on a woman. I believe it is important to actively educate my patients about reconstruction options to help them on their journey to healing 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. Prior to your procedure, I will examine the skin, muscle, and residual breast tissue, and depending on the patient’s individual situation and goals, to create a personalized breast reconstruction treatment plan to provide the most natural-looking results.
If the patient doesn’t have a suitable amount of tissue, I generally insert a silicone or saline implant and tissue expanders, which are balloon-like devices inserted under the skin to progressively stretch the skin, to allow space for the breast implant. Another option is flap reconstruction which includes harvesting healthy tissue, skin, muscle, and fat from another area of the body to rebuild the breast mound. My overall goal is to exchange the patient’s breast tissue, skin, and the nipple-areolar that were removed during a mastectomy or lumpectomy and construct new breasts that look natural and fit the patient’s body accordingly. The nipple and areola can also be rebuilt with the use of cosmetic tattooing.
To further celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness, 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 or another organization of your choice. I also recommend getting involved with Life After the Fight, to help promote breast cancer survivors’ professional ventures.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction, The Sport of Giving, or Life After the Fight, contact Dr. David Whiteman today to schedule an appointment. Be sure to connect with Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for plastic surgery news and updates.