Breast reconstruction is an area in which Dr. Halvorson has significant experience, having focused on this area of plastic surgery at major cancer centers for over a decade. Some plastic surgeons limit their practice to certain types of breast reconstruction. Dr. Halvorson has always felt that it is important to offer women ALL forms of breast reconstruction, depending on their body, preferences, goals, and cancer treatment. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for breast reconstruction. Dr. Halvorson will review the appropriate options with you in great detail, so you can be an active participant in making an informed decision that feels right.
Using implants for breast reconstruction is the most common method in the US. It involves less surgery, less hospital stay, and less recovery than a tissue flap, without additional scars. Breast reconstruction with implants is typically performed in two stages. In the first stage, a tissue expander is placed under the pectoralis major muscle and breast skin. Once you recover, the expander is gradually filled with saline solution during clinic visits using a small needle until you are happy with the size. A second, outpatient surgery is then performed to exchange the expander for an implant. Fat grafting may be performed at this time as well. Certain patients are candidates for implant reconstruction in a single stage, where the permanent implant is placed at the time of mastectomy. Some call this procedure a “breast in a day”. Not all plastic surgeons are comfortable with this approach, but in properly selected patients the outcomes are excellent. Implant reconstruction has advantages and disadvantages compared to tissue flap reconstruction, which will be reviewed with you in detail. Disadvantages include the long-term risks of implants (rupture, infection, contracture) and the fact that implants do not work as well with radiation.
Tissue Flap Reconstruction
Using your own tissue for breast reconstruction involves more scars and a longer surgery, hospital stay, and recovery, but the advantage is that you are using your own tissue so there are none of the long-term risks associated with implants. Tissue flaps also work better than implants following radiation. Dr. Halvorson has tremendous experience with all forms of tissue flap breast reconstruction, having performed hundreds of such procedures, including the latissimus dorsi flap, TRAM flap, DIEP flap, SIEA flap, and various thigh and buttocks flaps. You will receive the same safe, efficient, and effective procedure as you would at a major cancer center, here in Asheville!
Breast reduction is an extremely common plastic surgery procedure. It is typically performed to address neck, shoulder, and back pain resulting from heavy breasts, but it is also done to improve symmetry in patients undergoing surgery for breast cancer on the other side. Dr. Halvorson has performed countless breast reduction surgeries, including various methods that utilize different incisions. Your individual anatomy, health status, and goals will determine the best approach. Most procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, without the use of drains.