Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Surrounding AZ Cities
Breast cancer reconstruction is surgery performed to restore one or both breasts following a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or congenital deformity. Dr. Jude LaBarbera will aim to achieve near normal symmetry, shape and appearance of breasts with this surgery. Depending on your body needs and preferences, Dr. LaBarbera will come up with a solid surgical plan. The breast reconstruction surgery can be performed in a single surgery, or multiple procedures performed in stages. Either breast implants or tissue flaps may be used for the reconstruction. Dr. LaBarbera employs the most advanced muscle-sparring flap-based reconstruction techniques. This involves borrowing skin and fat tissue from other areas of the patient’s body such as the thigh, buttocks, and abdomen – and using it to form the new breast.
Dr. Jude LaBarbera works diligently to help each patient get the most natural and gorgeous breast reconstruction results. During your initial consultations, he’ll answer all your questions and ease your concerns regarding breast reconstruction. He’ll also collect important information regarding your progress with cancer treatment, and prepare informed surgical choices for you.
when is the best time for breast reconstruction?
Dr. Jude LaBarbera recommends that you discuss and plan breast reconstruction surgery before the mastectomy. This way, it’ll be possible to perform the surgery at the same time as the mastectomy, when the chest wall is unaffected by scarring and radiation. In many cases though, patients do not consider immediate breast reconstruction. This may be due to personal or medical reasons. Should this be the case, your breast surgeon will help you plan a delayed reconstruction that is ideally performed after you complete radiation treatment.
Breast reconstruction options
Implant breast reconstruction – this involves the use of saline or silicone breast implants to form the new breast. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgery is highly skilled in both direct-to-implant and delayed breast reconstruction. Many patients choose implant reconstruction because of the minimal surgery time required, and their aesthetic appearance. Disadvantages of this approach may include buildup of scar tissue, possible rejection, and the need for a follow up surgery to replace a tissue expander with an implant.
Autologous tissue flap reconstruction – this option entails rebuilding breasts by using live skin, fat, and muscle transplanted from other parts of the patient’s body such as the back, buttocks, abdomen, or hip areas. The advantage with this approach is that the rebuilt breast tissue remains live and there’s no possibility of rejection by the body. Most tissue-reconstructed breasts also feel more natural and last a lifetime. Disadvantages of autologous flap reconstruction are that the surgery involved is longer and more complex, and there will be additional scars at the donor site. There’s also a longer recovery period involved compared to breast implant reconstruction.
Dr. Jude specializes in various advanced autologous tissue flap reconstruction techniques:
a) DIEP Flap Reconstruction – This procedure may be performed at the same time as the mastectomy, or at a later date. It is the most recognized muscle-sparing autologous flap technique. Dr. Jude LaBarbera is highly experienced in DIEP method. Typically, he’ll ‘borrow’ tissue (skin, fat, and associated blood vessels) from the lower abdomen and use it to form the new breast. Since no muscle is extracted during the transplant, this method leads to less morbidity at the donor site, and recovery is much quicker. DIEP Flap reconstruction is also referred to as a ‘Tummy Tuck Flap’ because it also gives the added benefits of a tummy tuck procedure.
b) PAP Autologous Flap Reconstruction – This autologous procedure uses a flap of tissue extracted from the thigh (typically the back of the upper thigh) to rebuild the breast after mastectomy or lumpectomy. This way, any scarring on the donor site is well hidden within the crease of the buttocks. In addition to having healthy new breasts, women who receive a PAP reconstructive procedure also get the added benefit of a thigh lift. Dr. Jude LaBarbera will assess the amount of tissue available in the upper thigh area to establish the suitability of this approach.
c) Hybrid Stacked Autologous Flap Reconstruction – This technique is also known as the Composite Stacked Flap. It may combine various autologous tissue flap approaches such as DIEP (abdomen) flap, PAP (inner thigh) flap, and GAP flap to achieve excellent new breasts. In addition to having a natural-feeling new breast, this approach also allows him to give the patients the bonus benefits of a tummy tuck, thigh lift and buttock lift.
d) Tram Flap Reconstruction – this is a more traditional breast reconstruction technique that ‘borrows’ skin, fat, muscle, and associated blood vessels from the abdominal region. Dr. Jude LaBarbera does not usually perform this procedure, simply because it is not muscle-sparing (causes more donor site morbidity and increased recovery time for the patient). Muscle sparing techniques (such as DIEP and PAP) tend to be more advantageous, and are thus more popular among his patients.
Patients have different body shapes, sizes, and requirements. During your initial consultation, Dr. Jude LaBarbera will examine you and help choose the most beneficial breast reconstruction technique!
nipple and areola restoration
The nipple and areola are not spared when a breast is surgically removed. To rebuild this area, Dr. Jude LaBarbera will graft skin and muscle to form a new nipple. The areola will be achieved by tattooing. Nipple and areola restoration is performed once the reconstructed breast has fully healed.
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Breast reconstruction surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. If the procedure is performed at the same time as the mastectomy, hospital stay is usually required. Patients who receive flap reconstruction surgery may need to stay at the hospital for up to 5 days. During this time, the surgeon and his team will conduct close monitoring to ensure that everything is going on fine after the procedure. It’s normal for patients to experience pain and discomfort in the chest area within the first week after surgery. The patient may also feel a little disoriented about their newly formed chest. Dr. Jude will provide temporary drain tubes, bandages, post-op care instructions, and other necessities required for proper recovery.
Planning your procedure
Dr.Jude LaBarbera helps cancer patients in Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and surrounding Arizona areas look and feel normal again. He works patiently and professionally encourages each patient as they weather the journey towards becoming a cancer survivor. During your consultation visits with Dr. Jude, you’ll be able to discuss various procedure issues. Feel free to ask questions regarding the recovery time, cost of the surgery, post-op follow up, and recovery durations. Each patient’s needs are different and Dr. LaBarbera will be able to answer these questions after evaluating you.
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Jude LaBarbera MD Plastic Surgery of Scottsdale & Gilbert has provided this website for informational purposes only. This website does not constitute formal medical advice. Please contact our office to schedule your plastic surgery consultation to further discuss your medical needs. Serving Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, and other surrounding cities in Arizona, including Paradise Valley, Chandler, and Mesa AZ.