Breast Reconstruction after Double Mastectomy

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on May 04, 2019

Before and after breast reconstructionAfter battling breast cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy, the least women deserve is to feel confident and beautiful. Unfortunately, while a double mastectomy can be life-saving, it alters the figure and leaves many women feeling insecure about their appearance.

At our New Orleans, LA practice, Dr. Ravi Tandon offers multiple breast reconstruction options after a double mastectomy. These techniques are broken down into two broad categories: natural breast reconstruction, which uses the patient’s own skin and tissues to rebuild the breasts, and breast implant reconstruction, which rebuilds the breasts through the placement of an implant.

Natural Breast Reconstruction

Natural breast reconstruction, which is also known as flap reconstruction, harvests tissues from other areas of the body to rebuild the breasts. Natural breast reconstruction is a little more complicated than breast implant reconstruction, but Dr. Tandon uses advanced techniques to give our New Orleans patients the most natural-looking results possible, while minimizing the risk of complications.

There are three general types of natural breast reconstruction offered by Dr. Tandon: perforator flaps, myocutaneous flaps, and fat grafting.

  • Perforator flaps: Perforator flap reconstruction uses skin and tissues from the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or back to rebuild the breasts. This technique avoids altering the muscles, which results in a shorter, smoother recovery for the patient.
  • Myocutaneous flaps: The myocutaneous flap technique involves taking skin, fat, and muscle tissues from other areas of the body to rebuild the breasts. Because this requires a longer recovery and carries a higher risk of complications, it is best to avoid this technique, when possible.
  • Fat grafting: Fat grafting rebuilds the breasts using fat that has been harvested through a liposuction procedure.

Natural breast reconstruction is usually performed in two to three stages. Working with the patient’s oncologist, Dr. Tandon can typically perform the initial phase of surgery at the time of the mastectomy.

A few months later, patients will return so that any necessary adjustments can be made. An optional third stage of treatment involves reconstructing the nipples, which may consist of a 3D tattoo, or the creation of a nipple using the patient’s body tissues.

Breast Implant Reconstruction

Breast implant reconstruction is a straightforward procedure that restores the shape and size of the breasts through the placement of breast implants. Breast implant reconstruction may be a good option for our New Orleans patients who want to avoid scarring on other areas of the body, those who have not had to undergo radiation therapy to the chest, and those who lack significant fat and tissues to collect for natural breast reconstruction.

Breast implant reconstruction can either be performed at the same time as a mastectomy, or later down the road. This will depend on what type of mastectomy is performed and which option the oncologist feels is in the best interest of the patient.

If implant reconstruction is scheduled after the mastectomy is performed, a tissue expander will be put in place to gradually stretch the tissues and create a pocket that can accommodate the implant. Usually the breasts are ready for implant placement within about a month.

As with natural reconstruction, patients can choose to enhance breast implant reconstruction results with nipple reconstruction.

Contact Us

There are many surgical techniques available to give each breast reconstruction patient options. To learn more about these procedures, contact us online at your earliest convenience or call us at (504) 455-1000 to schedule a personal consultation.

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