Breast Reconstruction and Prophylactic Mastectomy
Prophylactic mastectomy is surgery to remove one or both breasts in order to significantly reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Women who consider prophylactic mastectomy include women with a strong family history of breast cancer, women who have tested positive for a genetic mutation including BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, and women who have a personal history of breast cancer.
The decision making process for prophylactic mastectomy may be overwhelming. For women with a BRCA mutation, prophylactic mastectomy of both breasts can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 90%. A better understanding the role of breast reconstruction and breast reconstruction outcomes may significantly ease the decision making burden for many women.
What does a risk reducing mastectomy involve?
Prophylactic (risk reducing) mastectomy is performed by a plastic surgeon or a breast surgeon. All the tissue in both of your breasts (or as much as possible) is removed in a mastectomy. Breast tissue includes glandular tissue (the lobules and ducts that produce and deliver milk), as well as fatty and connective tissue.
What does the post-mastectomy reconstruction involve?
Breast reconstruction following prophylactic mastectomy is done by a plastic surgeon who is preferably also a breast reconstruction specialist like Dr. Lynch. It is usually done at the same time as the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction), but it can be done at a later date (delayed reconstruction).
Patients undergoing prophylactic mastectomy may be candidates for procedures that preserve the nipple and areola (Nipple Sparing Mastectomy) and allow for breast reconstruction techniques that provide the most natural appearing breast following reconstruction.
These techniques include, autologous flap reconstruction, implant based reconstruction and fat grafting.
The specific type and location of the incision(s) is unique to the patient, their anatomy sparing and preserving viability to the nipple areola complex, and the surgical planning for optimal outcome.
Breast reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy can have significant advantages. Immediate reconstruction following mastectomy minimizes the perception of a breast deformity and allows the woman to feel “whole” and maintain her sense of femininity while moving through the recovery process.
For women at high risk of developing breast cancer, it is important to discuss all of the options for breast cancer risk reduction and to consider the options for the most natural and beautiful breast reconstruction available.
Reconstruction specialist Dr Lynch is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery, fellowship trained in microsurgical techniques, specializing in breast reconstruction. Dr Lynch consistently works closely with you and your mastectomy surgeon to plan individualized breast reconstruction for the most beautiful and comfortable breast reconstruction result.