Mercy Plastic Surgeon Dr. Brendan Collins Discusses the Latest Breast Reconstruction Techniques After Breast Cancer Surgery
These days breast reconstruction after cancer surgery isn't just limited to implants. Procedures removing a woman's own tissue from her abdomen or back can be used to rebuild her breasts.
Kathy Weng can attest to that.
When Weng had a double mastectomy in 2011, she wanted breast reconstruction right away. The problem was that her body couldn't tolerate implants. But last June, a surgery she never knew about made her wish come true.
"They removed the tissue from the back end, and then they make your breasts from that and they don't use any kind of silicone or anything," Weng said. "It's all your own tissue, that's what amazed me the most."
The procedure is called a bi-lateral s-gap, a unique procedure using tissue from the upper buttocks, said Dr. Brendan Collins, plastic surgeon with Mercy’s Breast Reconstruction and Restoration Center.
"This kind of elliptical shape here is the skin from the backside," Dr. Collins said in describing the procedure. "We identify the main blood vessel that supplies the blood flow to all of this tissue. That tissue is then removed from the patient's body and then transferred up to the breast. Under a microscope we hook up the artery and the vein to provide blood flow to the tissue."
And although it is a longer surgery and patients spend a few days in the hospital, Dr. Collins noted that there are benefits to using your own tissue for breast reconstruction.
"It's yours for the rest of your life," Dr. Collins said. "You don't have to worry about maintaining it, and some patients do find that to be more comforting."
"It was just wonderful for me when I woke up and could believe that I really had breasts again," Weng said.
View Dr. Collins’ interview regarding breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.
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