For many women, a breast cancer diagnosis means a transformation, since both full and partial mastectomies are common as a way to rid the body of malignant tissues. These surgeries can leave a woman feeling uncertain or insecure about the changes.
Fortunately, there are options to help.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase “natural breast reconstruction” and wanted to know more about it. The term actually covers several different procedures, from improving the contour of scars left by mastectomies to even a natural alternative to breast implants. Natural breast reconstruction is a method of taking tissue from your own body to rebuild your breasts and the area around them. Tissue may be taken from a few different areas of the body. Here are a few methods of transferring tissue.
In this procedure, also known as the gluteal artery perforator procedure, tissue is taken from the patient’s buttock area to create the breast mound. The muscles of the buttocks are left intact, and any extra tissue from either the upper or lower area (from “love handles” to “saddle bags”) can be considered. A GAP procedure is particularly useful for ladies who do not have excess body fat in other areas.
Also known as the profunda artery perforator flap, this procedure takes tissue from the patient’s upper thigh to recreate the breast mound. Scars are hidden in the crease of the inner thigh, and only skin and fat are transferred.
Short for the deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap, this popular procedure takes tissue from the patient’s abdomen to create the breast mound. Not only is the muscle of the abdomen left intact, many patients like the DIEP for the “bonus” result of having a tighter tummy.
Also known as the superficial inferior epigastric artery flap, this procedure is very similar to the DIEP flap (tissue is taken from the tummy); however, it is used only for a small percentage of women whose abdominal blood supply comes from the SIEA artery.
These procedures are not an exhaustive list of methods in which tissue can be obtained; other areas of the body, such as underneath the arm or even on the hip may also be reformed as breast tissue. Furthermore, surgeons are working daily to improve the art of natural breast reconstruction. Sensory improvement, for example, means reconstructing the nerves in the tissue used to build the breast, and repairing these nerves can mean better sensory response.
While it is true that most surgeons are able to reconstruct a breast, only a few surgeons have had extensive experience with natural breast reconstruction. The procedures listed above all involve transferring body tissue without damaging surrounding tissues or sacrificing much needed muscle. Should a patient be interested in these procedures, proper research is the key to finding a surgeon who is credible and able to successfully perform natural breast reconstruction.
To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 1-866-374-2627.