2 New Breast-Reconstruction Techniques for Breast-Cancer Survivors

Health & Medical Blog

Breast cancer not only takes a toll on a woman's health but also can take a toll on her self-esteem. Once cancerous tumors are removed by lumpectomies or full mastectomies are performed, a woman's once-asymmetrical breasts often become asymmetrical, or else the breast a lumpectomy is performed on can appear misshapen. These dramatic changes in a breast-cancer survivor's appearance can lead to her feeling less attractive than she used to feel during a time when she is already recovering from the mental trauma that being stricken with cancer can cause.

Thankfully, there are many breast-reconstruction techniques that already work very well to help breast-cancer survivors feel like they look like "themselves again," and continual research is being conducted to find new breast-restoration techniques that are faster, easier, and more successful. Read on to learn about two new breast-reconstruction techniques that some cosmetic surgeons now offer.

1. Fat Grafting Can Restore Volume to a Breast After a Lumpectomy

Many women with breast cancer who opt for lumptectomies do so to prevent the loss of their entire breast. However, once a lumpectomy is performed to remove a cancerous tumor from a breast, there is always a chance that another will begin to grow. Due to the fact that breast implants can make cancerous tumors more difficult to detect on mammograms, often the decision to obtain a breast implant after a lumpectomy is ill-advised. 

While doctors can try their best to leave a woman with a breast that appears as symmetrical with the other as possible after a lumpectomy, the removal of a tumor often requires removal of a large amount of breast tissue, and this can lead to asymmetrical breasts. 

While still considered an experimental treatment due to long-term studies not having yet been performed, many cosmetic surgeons have helped correct the shapes of women's breasts after lumpectomies and restore volume to them by performing fat grafting. 

There are several types of fat grafting for breasts, and one called lipofilling. This technique has been used by reconstructive surgeons very successfully for many years to correct the shape of women's breasts after lumpectomies. To perform lipofilling, fat is simply removed from another part of a woman's body, such as her belly, buttocks, or thighs, processed, and then injected into her breast to restore lost volume and correct the shape. 

2. Breast-Tissue Expanders Make Post-Mastectomy Breast Implants Easier

For women who opt to obtain full mastecomies after being diagnosed with breast cancer, the breast is typically reconstructed with a saline or silicone implant. After the implant is placed, a woman can experience pain, as the skin on her breast must stretch to accommodate the new implant, and the post-implant recovery period can last several weeks. After a long battle with breast cancer, women would like to get back to living "normal life" as quickly as possible after the implantation process. 

Medical researchers have now found a way to reduce pain and shorten the recovery time after a post-mastectomy breast-implant procedure. They have created breast-tissue expanders that can be placed under a woman's breast skin immediately after a mastectomy. While recovering from the mastectomy, the tissue expander can be gradually inflated by the cosmetic surgeon to slowly stretch breast skin to keep post-implant pain and recovery time to a minimum. 

After the tissue expander is removed and replaced with a breast implant, a woman can then quickly get back to living a normal life and feeling confident about her post-mastectomy appearance. 

Breast cancer can not only take a toll on a woman's health but also on her self-confidence after tumors have been removed and she is left with breasts that look different than they looked before cancer struck. Thankfully, researchers and cosmetic surgeons are finding more and more ways to make post–breast cancer breast-reconstruction easier. 


16 January 2017

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