For individuals undergoing or who have recently had a mastectomy and are considering breast reconstruction, the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program offers breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild and help restore the look of a natural breast.
Our surgeons are board-certified and nationally-recognized cancer reconstruction experts from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia who specialize in restoring the appearance and function for patients with breast cancer and other types of cancers.
The Fox Chase Cancer Center Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Team includes:
- Sameer A. Patel, MD, FACS
Attending Surgeon, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center
The latest breast reconstructive options
Virtua Fox Chase offers flap procedures which use the patient’s own tissue to create a natural looking breast. For women who choose implants, Virtua Fox Chase offers both saline and silicone gel implants.
To make room for permanent breast implant(s), a tissue expander, or balloon-like device, is used to stretch the skin and muscle on your chest wall. This new technique using a processed skin product, allows for faster expansion and stable implant coverage, which shortens the reconstruction process for implants.
The breast reconstruction process
Breast reconstruction surgery is usually completed in multiple stages. The first stage involves creation of the breast mound which is created by either an implant or by using your own tissue which is called a flap.
Follow-up procedures are commonly done on an outpatient basis, but may also take place in the hospital. That decision depends on the extent of surgery needed and the preference of your surgeon. Follow-up procedures include:
- Exchanging expanders for permanent implants and reconstruction of the nipple and areola
- Reshaping the remaining breast to make it symmetrical with the reconstructed one or to address complications that may result after surgery, although these procedures are less common
- Replacing implants years later. Breast implants usually don't last a lifetime as there can be scarring around them.
Benefits from breast reconstruction
- Breast reconstruction restores the natural look of a breast using your own natural tissue or implants
- The surgery can be done at the time of a mastectomy or delayed to your preference
- Health insurance policies often cover most or all of the cost after a mastectomy.
Candidates for breast reconstructive surgery
Most women who have had a mastectomy are candidates for breast reconstruction. Women, who have had a lumpectomy, where only a segment of the breast is removed, usually do not need reconstruction. However, women in other circumstances, may need the surgery.
The reconstructive surgeon will work closely with the breast cancer surgeon and treatment team at Virtua to provide the best possible outcome.
For more information, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3.