The silver lining in a breast cancer battle
“Reconstructive surgery after breast cancer surgery and treatment is a necessary step to return a woman both physically and psychologically to her pre-cancer quality of life,” saysSameer A. Patel, MD, FACS, an assistant professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center who practices at the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program.
Over the past 20 years, reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients has risen to the level of high technology. Women now use their own living tissue during reconstruction for more natural-looking and natural-feeling breasts.
Dr. Patel explains: “Advanced techniques such as the DIEP flap, allows us to use the patient’s own abdominal tissue for results that are quite stunning and emulate a natural breast.”
The DIEP flap (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator), replaces the skin and breast tissue removed during a mastectomy with skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen. A slim incision along the bikini line is made, much like that used for a tummy tuck. The necessary skin, soft tissue, and tiny feeding blood vessels are removed and surgically transformed into a new breast mound. Restoration of the nipple and areola follow.
Whether a woman chooses to have immediate reconstruction during mastectomy surgery or a few months later, the effects on her life can be rejuvenating.
“Breast cancer is a tough battle to fight but a high quality reconstruction can be the silver lining,” says Dr. Patel.