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Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction with Implant

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Evolution of Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction with Implant

Treatment of breast cancer primarily depends on the type, size, and location of the cancer. Treatment options are varied but share in common the surgical removal of the cancerous cells. They vary in the degree of surrounding breast tissue that should be removed as well. Lumpectomy, or removal of part of the breast tissue, may be used for less-invasive, smaller breast cancers. Mastectomy, or surgery to remove all of the breast tissue, may be the best choice to ensure full removal of the cancer and avoid recurrence. Various types of mastectomies also exist, the most common being skin sparing mastectomy (where the nipple and areola are removed but the skin overlying the breast tissue is preserved) and nipple-sparing mastectomy (similar to a skin sparing mastectomy but the nipple and areola are preserved).

Reconstruction of the breast after mastectomy is a commonly performed procedure. All women should be given the option for breast reconstruction and federal law mandates it be covered by insurance carriers. Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately at the time of mastectomy or later, in a delayed fashion. Reconstruction of the breast can be done through the use of your own tissue or with implants. This article will focus only on breast reconstruction using implants.

Breast reconstruction surgery with an implant fills the defect left by the missing breast. The implant may be placed immediately after the mastectomy, known as a direct to implant reconstruction, or in a staged fashion involving use of a tissue expander first. If used, tissue expanders serve to stretch out the breast skin. Tissue expanders are not designed to be permanent and will be switched out for a breast implant at a later stage.

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