Breast Reconstruction in Atlanta, GA
Breast cancer, trauma and other medical conditions can leave a woman with scarring, missing breasts and other cosmetic issues that greatly reduce her sense of being a woman. Breast reconstruction by double board-certified Atlanta plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Killingsworth or Atlanta palstic surgeon Dr. Cristen Catignani is a viable option for many women to help restore breast shape and size. At Atlanta Aesthetics in Cumming and Johns Creek, Dr. Killingsworth and Dr. Catignani perform breast reconstruction for women living in Forsyth County, Georgia.
Reconstruction Surgery for the Breasts
Thanks to advanced technology and brilliant medical innovations, today there are more breast reconstructive options available for patients than ever before. Breast reconstruction re-creates a symmetrical appearance to a woman’s bosom, maintains body proportion so clothing can fit better, and above all: breast reconstruction restores self-confidence to women who have lost one or both breasts as a consequence of breast cancer, a congenital abnormality, or disfigurement resulting from a traumatic injury. Each type of breast reconstruction surgery has advantages and disadvantages and what may be the best approach for one patient may not be best for another. For this reason, Dr. Killingsworth and Dr. Catignani offer their patients numerous options for breast reconstruction, and they customize a treatment plan to meet each person’s individual needs. Deciding which reconstruction method is best for you will be discussed during your consultation. It is dependent on your body shape, anatomy, prior surgeries, current and past medical conditions, and your overall preferences and goals. During reconstructive surgery, Dr. Killingsworth and Dr. Catignani are committed to creating a new breast and nipple that most resembles a woman’s natural breast shape, size, projection, and position.
Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
Breast reconstruction has become especially valuable and helpful to women who have lost one or both breasts to cancer and feel that they no longer have control of their body. They may have a sense that they are damaged, incomplete, or even undesirable after their mastectomy, and they feel very self-conscious about their overall femininity. For these women, having a reconstructed breast is more appealing than wearing a prosthetic device to fill out an empty bra cup since breast reconstruction can restore the normal shape of a woman’s breast.
Breast reconstruction should be an option to all patients who have suffered from breast cancer but unfortunately, statistics show that only 35% of women with mastectomies from breast cancer undergo breast reconstruction. In most cases, the reason is that many women are unaware of the breast reconstruction options available to them and to change this, several states have begun passing legislation that requires women diagnosed with breast cancer to be referred to a plastic surgeon so they can be informed of their choices and alternatives. When a breast cancer patient is educated about breast reconstructive possibilities prior to a mastectomy, they can make a better-informed decision before surgery.
After breast cancer surgery, a patient has the choice of having reconstructive surgery performed at the same time as their mastectomy or delayed reconstruction, which involves a second operation to reconstruct the missing breast tissue after recovery from the mastectomy is complete. For many women, breast reconstruction represents the conclusion of their breast cancer battle, and they want to pursue reconstruction as soon as possible and decide to begin the process at the same time they have their mastectomy surgery. Others choose to concentrate first on the cancer treatment itself before proceeding with reconstruction, and the decision will be based on the extent of your cancer and whether or not radiation therapy is planned after your mastectomy.
Evaluation for Breast Reconstruction
There are several ways to reconstruct the breast, and Dr. Killingsworth or Dr. Catignani will work together with you in deciding which method is best for you. A breast reconstruction is usually a sequence of operations that involves two and sometimes three stages. The first operation is usually the longest and most complicated part of the breast reconstruction sequence because it involves the formation of a breast mound. The second and third stages are typically performed as an outpatient procedure, and they may include implant exchanges, revisions of the reconstructed breast, nipple reconstruction, and possibly surgery on the opposite breast to achieve symmetry.
The Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Two of the more common techniques used for breast reconstruction include:
- Autologous Tissue Flap: This approach involves removing skin, fat, and muscle from a donor site on another area of the body and grafting this tissue onto the chest to create a new breast. The donor tissue is usually taken from the lower abdomen, the upper back, or the buttocks and this is a complex procedure that will affect the appearance of both the donor site and the recipient site although the texture of the reconstructed breasts is more natural looking than with implants.
- Breast Implants: Patients who do not want additional scars or the risks that may occur from having surgery on other areas of their body often choose to have implants used for their breast reconstruction. This procedure is the most common technique for breast reconstruction surgery by combining skin expansion with implant placement. Dr. Killingsworth or Dr. Catignani will first insert a tissue (balloon) expander beneath the skin and chest muscle where the reconstructed breast will be located. A saline (salt water) solution is then injected into the expander through a tiny valve beneath the skin that will expand the overlying tissue and skin over a few weeks or months creating enough room for regular implant placement. The nipple and areola are then reconstructed at a later date using your own tissue.
Depending on the type of breast reconstruction you had performed, the recovery process will vary from a few to as many as 10 weeks. As you heal, you will have to be patient and give yourself time to adjust to the changes your body is experiencing. Your new breast will be a welcome addition, but it will be different from the one you lost, and it may take some time for your new breast(s) to feel like they are actually a part of you. Breast reconstruction does not restore full sensation or function to the breast, and it is a cosmetic procedure not necessary to restore physical health. However, reconstructive surgery helps many patients feel like they can get their life back to normal again after suffering the emotional and psychological trauma of losing a breast. Having breast reconstruction can be a real and lasting benefit so if you want to learn more about this procedure, please contact Atlanta Aesthetics today, and we will schedule your confidential consultation with Dr. Killingsworth or Dr. Catignani.
Atlanta Breast Reconstruction Cost and Financing Options
Depending on the nature of your breast reconstruction surgery, your medical insurance may cover a portion of the cost of your procedure. After your consultation, we work with you to determine the total cost, including the patient responsibility that is not covered by insurance. We accept payment by cash, personal check, credit card and CareCredit® financing.
If you have lost a breast to cancer or suffered trauma to your breasts, Dr. Christopher Killingsworth, a double board-certified Atlanta plastic surgeon, or Atlanta plastic surgeon, Dr. Cristen Catignani, would like to discuss your options for breast reconstruction. Contact us today to schedule your personal consultation at our Cumming or Atlanta location.