Dr. Gerstle understands that patients seeking reconstructive breast surgery are on a path they never expected to embark upon in the first place. Be it reconstructive surgery after injury or cancer, Dr. Gerstle wants to help those who seek reconstruction to feel better about themselves as a difficult chapter comes to a close. As every patient is unique, the two of you will take the time to discuss your unique situation and your best options as you both move forward.
To find out more about Breast Reconstruction at Lexington Plastic Surgery, PLLC, request a consultation or call (859) 279-2111.
Restoring breast appearance
Empowerment in the fight against breast cancer
Taking control of what was lost
First, a very delicate and detailed discussion regarding your options will occur between you, Dr. Gerstle, and very likely your general surgeon. There are so many ways to perform a breast reconstruction, the options may seem dizzying. Dr. Gerstle is here to guide you through understanding these options and choosing what is right for you.
For some women, immediate reconstruction is chosen. In this case, Dr. Gerstle begins reconstruction in the operating room at the time the general surgeon completes the removal of the breast. For other women, delayed reconstruction is deemed best. In these situations, the reconstruction occurs weeks, months or years after the removal of the breast. This can be a better situation for some women to undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or time for emotional adjustment. Some women just need some time, and that is perfectly alright.
Regardless of the method chosen, it is very common for breast reconstruction to take several stages. This can mean several operations. There can be implant reconstruction where breast implants are placed beneath a skin sparing mastectomy site or have tissue expanders expand the remaining skin over time before a new implant is placed. Some women prefer not to have an implant placed and choose to undergo what we call autologous flap reconstruction. In these procedures, Dr. Gerstle will take a part of the body (now called a flap) and re-route the blood supply to create a new breast out of the donor tissue. Some techniques to discuss with Dr. Gerstle include a TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis) flap, a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap, a SGAP (Superior Gluteal Artery Perforator) flap, TUG (Transverse Upper Gracilis Flap), or a Latissimus Dorsi Flap. Here, tissue is removed from the abdomen, the buttocks, leg or the back to create a breast mound. These flaps are either entirely removed and sewn back on to a new blood supply (called free flaps) or they keep their original blood supply and are rotated onto the new breast site (called a pedicled or rotational flap).
Once the reconstruction is healed, the nipple and areola are generally reconstructed in a separate procedure.
While you and Dr. Gerstle are choosing a plan that you’re most satisfied with, he will be able to tell you in more detail about the length of the procedure, the expected number of procedures you would probably need to experience, and the estimated recovery times afterwards.
Will my reconstructed breasts look natural?
The goal of breast reconstruction is to create a breast mound that looks and feels as close to a natural breast as possible, in order to help a woman feel more feminine and more confident in and out of clothes. Unfortunately, however, there is no reconstruction option that exists without some scars. Granted these scars will fade over time, but they will never truly disappear. Also, while great advancements have been made in implant manufacturing, it is difficult to get an implant to feel exactly like a natural breast. As a result, in clothing, few people will be able to tell you ever had breast surgery. However, out of clothes and to the touch, you will be able to tell that the breasts you have now are not the ones you had before the mastectomy. For most patients who have undergone mastectomy, breast reconstruction improves their appearance and quality of life after surgery.
What determines the choice of the technique?
Certain factors that include satisfaction having an implant placed versus wanting your own tissue to make your new breast are important points to discuss with Dr. Gerstle. Other factors such as smoking, your weight, body shape, blood pressure, other medical problems all play a role in the decision making process.
What our patients are saying…
After I gave birth to two beautiful babies and breastfed them both, I was sad to see that my breasts had lost all tissue they once had. To make matters worse, what little was left was sagging badly. I wanted to get my figure back so that I could be proud to wear a swimsuit again. Dr. Gerstle was wonderful about listening to my concerns about not wanting to look ‘fake’ and he gave me a natural, womanly figure back with implants and a breast lift. He did a great job and I recommend him and his amazing staff to anyone interested in plastic surgery.