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Overcoming a Technical Challenge in Breast Reconstruction

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"For many patients, mastectomy means not only losing a breast but a loss of femininity," says Brett Garber, DO, Virtua plastic surgeon. "One critical issue in breast reconstruction immediately following a mastectomy is obtaining enough skin to optimally secure the implant or expander, and create a nicely shaped breast. A traditional option has been to obtain complete submuscular coverage of the tissue expander or implant using the pectoralis and serratus muscles, or to transfer autologous tissue for an inframammary fold."

Dr. Garber explains: "The newest generation of dermal matrix materials help resolve these problems. They add thickness to the reconstructed breast and provide better coverage and support of an implant or expander. The materials also create a sling which creates a naturally formed inframammary fold. With this, mobilization of the serratus muscle is not necessary and post-operative and chronic pain is reduced.

Central to a successful breast reconstruction is an inframammary fold that functions as close to a woman's real anatomy as possible and is aesthetically pleasing. "With these newer materials, a surgeon can achieve both," concludes Dr. Garber.

This Virtua Physician article was last updated: August 21, 2008