Many patients with breast cancer or those who have the breast cancer gene and choose to undergo mastectomy (removal of the breast to treat or prevent cancer), decide to have breast reconstruction. The surgery creates a newly shaped breast using either an artificial implant, or tissue taken from another location on the body (or both) and is performed by reconstructive plastic surgeons who specialize in this procedure.
With advanced care options like breast reconstruction available close to home through Doylestown Health's Breast Center, women who have had a mastectomy can look in the mirror and see themselves, not cancer.
Doylestown Health physicians offer a range of breast cancer care including complex surgical treatments. They work closely with the patient to determine which option for breast reconstruction is right for her.
Doylestown Health now offers women the option to use their own tissue to rebuild the breast. The procedure is called free flap surgery, or DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforators) flap.
In the DIEP flap procedure, the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon work in tandem. As the breast surgeon performs the mastectomy the plastic surgeon takes tissue from the patient's belly (abdomen) and then uses it to reconstruct the breast. The tissue contains skin, blood vessels and fat and is attached to new blood vessels in the breast area during advanced microsurgery.
"The procedure can make the breasts look balanced," says Joseph Tamburrino, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon with additional fellowship training in reconstructive microsurgery. "The patients feel confident that the reconstructed breast looks and feels natural, most often as if the mastectomy never took place."
Unlike older flap procedures that take muscle from the abdomen, the DIEP procedure spares the abdominal muscle, helping to keep a woman's core strength and preventing complications like hernia.
"Many women also find it an added benefit to have the excess skin and fat removed from their lower abdomen as if they had a tummy tuck," adds Dr. Tamburrino.
Patients who undergo reconstruction with their own tissue have higher long-term satisfaction ratings and have no issues with implant-related complications.
Still, not every patient is a candidate for this type of reconstruction.
The Team Approach
Experienced, fellowship-trained breast surgeon Donna Angotti, MD works with a plastic surgeon to offer the most advanced methods for breast reconstruction. Decisions are made in consultation with oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and the breast cancer nurse navigator.
Free flap reconstruction is highly technical and requires a surgeon who has experience with microsurgery to re-attach the blood vessels. Previously, this surgery was only available at large city hospitals but now, women in suburban or rural communities have easier, local access to consultations with the physicians, pre-surgical testing, and surgery as Doylestown Health is one of only a few centers in the region offering this state-of-the-art treatment.
Through careful consideration of options when it comes to reconstruction, the team at Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute is committed to providing the safest care with results that are most pleasing to the patient.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation call 856-304-1114.
About Doylestown Health's Breast Center
Doylestown Health's Breast Center offers comprehensive breast cancer and well-breast care, close to home. From early detection through advanced screening options like 3D mammography, to complex surgical treatments including nipple-sparing mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, the experts at Doylestown Health are your resource for total breast health. As a member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Jefferson, Doylestown Health Cancer Institute oncology patients have access to innovative clinical trials, expert second opinions and the latest information in the field of cancer genetics.
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