Your Body. Your Choices. Your Team.
A breast cancer diagnosis can often times lead to a mastectomy, surgery to remove the affected breast and surrounding tissue. Fortunately, there have been major advancements in breast reconstruction surgery in recent years. Now, women have some surgical options to recreate a feminine physique and restore their self body image.
A couple of main options to consider when planning reconstructive surgery include, when to schedule the surgery and what type suits each individual’s situation the best.
AnMed Health Piedmont Surgical Associates and AnMed Health Plastic Surgery work together as a specialized team for both phases of the process. Providing the utmost in personalized care, Dr. William Buice performs the surgical mastectomy procedure and works closely with Dr. Felice P. Moody who specializes in breast reconstruction plastic surgery. The two work together providing patients with a comprehensive approach to their surgical care.
Breast reconstructive surgery timing
Together, this knowledgeable team helps patients choose their course of action:
- Simultaneous breast reconstruction: For patients who do not require breast irradiation or chemotherapy, this can be an effective option. Patients undergo immediate reconstruction post mastectomy. Dr. Buice performs the mastectomy followed by Dr. Moody who steps in and takes over the reconstruction surgery. For those who choose to have prophylactic mastectomy—a mastectomy to reduce a high risk of breast cancer—reconstruction is almost always done immediately.
- Staged breast reconstruction: Patients who require radiation therapy after the mastectomy are advised to consider this two-step process. Radiation on a newly reconstructed breast can result in several complications over time. During the staged breast reconstruction, Dr. Buice performs the mastectomy and Dr. Moody inserts a tissue expander to preserve the skin in preparation for the final reconstruction post radiation/chemotherapy treatment. Delayed reconstruction can be done 6 to 12 months post mastectomy or years later if desired.
Factors that influence reconstruction timing
Cancer stage: In general, patients with a stage I or stage II diagnosis who choose a mastectomy based on a biopsy are less likely to need radiation or chemotherapy. These candidates can benefit from immediate reconstruction and one surgical procedure. Stage III or stage IV cancer diagnosis almost always require more treatments and therefore delayed reconstruction.
Expertise availability: Immediate reconstruction requires two surgeons with credentials and operating privileges in the same hospital. Fortunately, Piedmont Surgical Associates provides this option with the expertise of Dr. Buice and Dr. Moody maintaining both credentials and privileges at AnMed Health.
Overall health: Some patients may have additional health issues that affect the body’s ability to heal including diabetes, bleeding disorders or circulatory problems. In these cases, your doctors may recommend a complete recovery from the mastectomy before reconstruction. Smoking can also be a factor in the healing process. The doctors may require patients to quit smoking for a period of time before reconstruction to allow for extra healing time.
Piedmont Surgical Associates team will discuss all options in great detail with our patients so they feel comfortable making knowledgeable decisions based on research and expertise. With the added benefit of collaborative planning between Dr. Buice and Dr. Moody can definitely help patients weigh their options and ultimate obtain the best surgical results for their specific situation.