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Breast Reconstruction Helps Women Regain Confidence After Breast Removal Due to Cancer

Each year more than 240,000 American women face the reality of breast cancer, and many may have one or both breasts removed during the course of their treatment. But breast removal, or mastectomy, should not change the way a woman feels about herself.

Our renowned plastic surgeons at University Hospitals specialize in breast reconstruction following mastectomy, helping women regain what they lost and begin to heal and live life to the fullest post-cancer treatment.

Ideal Candidates for Breast Reconstruction

Most women who have a mastectomy can have breast reconstruction. However, we encourage women to learn as much as possible about breast reconstruction and potential results before making a decision. We believe it is a good idea to discuss breast reconstruction with an experienced UHplastic surgeon before having the mastectomy. This allows our surgical team time to determine the most successful treatment plan based on a patient’s individual needs.

The UH Department of Plastic Surgery team understands that breast reconstruction can be a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for a woman who has lost one or both breasts because of cancer or other diseases. Our surgeons are experienced in all methods that can restore a breast to near-normal appearance.

Breast Reconstruction Options

At the Center for Breast Enhancement & Reconstruction at UH, we provide the following breast reconstruction options:

  • Implant Reconstruction: A procedure that combines the technique of skin expansion with subsequent insertion of a permanent implant. After the general surgeon removes the breast tissue, the plastic surgeon places a breast implant where the breast tissue was removed to form the breast contour.
  • Tissue Flap Reconstruction: A procedure that involves creation of the breast mound using the patient’s own tissue. The tissue remains healthy because it maintains its own blood supply. The two most common types of tissue flap surgeries are the TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap), which uses tissue from the abdomen, and the latissimus dorsi flap, which uses tissue from the upper back.
  • DIEP Reconstruction: A newer type of flap procedure, the DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforator), that uses fat and skin from the same area as the TRAM flap procedure but forms the breast mound without transferring the muscle tissue. This procedure does not weaken the abdominal wall and decreases the chance of bulging and hernia formation. UH is one of only few surgical teams in northeast Ohio to regularly and successfully perform DIEP flap procedures.