2 doctors weighed in:

Is alloderm with a tissue expander recommended at the time that my breast cancer tumor is removed? I am a 40-year-old woman diagnosed with right breast cancer. I do want to have the same size breasts again after treatment for breast cancer. Is preparation

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lawrence Colen
Surgery - Plastics

In brief: Lots of options

There are a lot of reconstructive options available to you and you should understand what each option entails before finalizing your decision regarding how to be reconstructed.
What is your best option will be different from another patient and depends upon your overall health, your body weight and the nature of your opposite breast.

In brief: Lots of options

There are a lot of reconstructive options available to you and you should understand what each option entails before finalizing your decision regarding how to be reconstructed.
What is your best option will be different from another patient and depends upon your overall health, your body weight and the nature of your opposite breast.
Dr. Lawrence Colen
Dr. Lawrence Colen
Thank
Dr. Lauren Stegman
Radiation Oncology

In brief: It

It sounds like you have decided to have a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) rather than a lumpectomy with radiation.
This is a reasonable choice as both work just as well for curing most early breast cancers. If you have a mastectomy, an immediate reconstruction at the time of the cancer operation can be done. Often this is accomplished by placing a tissue expander that is slowy increased in size to stretch the skin and tissues over the chest and make enough space to put in a new artificial breast implant a few months later. Many plastic surgeons are now using some alloderm over the tissue expander as well to provide a surface for the new skin to grow in and also help get the area to the correct size more easily. I have seen many patients with excellent cosmetic outcomes with this procedure. There is really no special preparation that needs to be done before the operation. The main considerations in deciding whether to proceed with this type of reconstruction or not are: 1) what is the chance that radiation therapy will be needed after surgery? If it is likely that radiation will be necessary the tissue expander reconstruction route can still be done, but you need to discuss the implications of the radiation on the reconstruction with all your doctors. 2) what is the chance that you have a breast cancer susceptibiilty gene that would predispose you to getting a cancer on the other side? Sometimes genetic testing should be done before surgery to help you decide if you should have both breasts removed and get both reconstructed at the same time.

In brief: It

It sounds like you have decided to have a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) rather than a lumpectomy with radiation.
This is a reasonable choice as both work just as well for curing most early breast cancers. If you have a mastectomy, an immediate reconstruction at the time of the cancer operation can be done. Often this is accomplished by placing a tissue expander that is slowy increased in size to stretch the skin and tissues over the chest and make enough space to put in a new artificial breast implant a few months later. Many plastic surgeons are now using some alloderm over the tissue expander as well to provide a surface for the new skin to grow in and also help get the area to the correct size more easily. I have seen many patients with excellent cosmetic outcomes with this procedure. There is really no special preparation that needs to be done before the operation. The main considerations in deciding whether to proceed with this type of reconstruction or not are: 1) what is the chance that radiation therapy will be needed after surgery? If it is likely that radiation will be necessary the tissue expander reconstruction route can still be done, but you need to discuss the implications of the radiation on the reconstruction with all your doctors. 2) what is the chance that you have a breast cancer susceptibiilty gene that would predispose you to getting a cancer on the other side? Sometimes genetic testing should be done before surgery to help you decide if you should have both breasts removed and get both reconstructed at the same time.
Dr. Lauren Stegman
Dr. Lauren Stegman
Thank
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