Which techniques are typically employed to reconstruct the breast?
Dr Steven Shoen works closely with the Breast Center at Saint Peters University Hospital as well with the Breast Center at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey performing a variety of techniques designed to reconstruct the breast. Three procedures, Tissue Expansion, Back Flap Reconstruction, and use of Lower Abdominal Tissue are employed depending on a variety of reconstructive needs as well as a patient's overall medical condition. Skin sparing as well as nipple sparing techniques are sometimes employed to yield the most natural results possible.
What is the Tissue Expander Technique used in Breast Reconstruction?
The Tissue Expander Technique for Breast Reconstruction involves two stages to form the breast mound. At the first procedure, a device called a Tissue Expander is positioned under the Pectoralis Muscle which lies deep to the breast. A Tissue Expander is similar to an empty Breast Implant. There is a "port" in one of the walls of the device which can be pierced repeatedly with a needle. Beginning three weeks following surgery saline (sterile salt water) is injected through the port into the expander. This is done weekly until the expander is fully inflated. As the expander inflates it stretches out the muscle and skin layers which cover it.
The second stage procedure involves the removal of the expander and the placement of a breast implant. Where needed alterations are made to the pocket inwhich the implant will be placed. This second procedure is performed on an ambulatory basis.
Dr. Shoen works in concert with the patient's Breast Surgeon and Oncologist so that the reconstructive stages do not limit or interfere with cancer management.
What are the advantages of the Tissue Expander Technique?
The Tissue Expander Technique provides a means to reconstruct the breast without using donor tissue from another part of the body. Discomfort is limited to the mastectomy site. Recovery is the simplest of the different techniques used for Breast Reconstruction.
What are the disadvantages of the Expander Technique?
As described above, the techniques requires two operative procedures. It is sometimes difficult to use this technique to match an opposite breast that is drooping.
What is Acellular Dermal Matrix, and why is it used for the Expander Technique?
Acellular Dermal Matrix is material derived from human skin. The tissue is treated in a variety of ways rendering it safe for patient use. The matrix is typically sewn over the lower half of a Tissue Expander when the device is initially positioned. This material provides support for the expander, taking tension off the over lying skin. It allows for the reconstruction of a more natural Breast Fold.
More information about Tissue Expansion:
You may view photograghs of patients whose breasts were reconstructed with the Tissue Expansion Technique by clicking on the "Expander Reconstruction" tab in our Photo Gallery. Call our office at 732-632-6090 to arrange for an appointment at one of our two office sites. Learn which breast reconstructive technique is best for you.