One in eight women will develop breast cancer and require treatment. This often leads to removal of a part of or the entire effected breast. In the past these surgeries led to tremendous disfigurement of the chest, requiring multiple surgeries to repair. Our knowledge and techniques have advanced in recent years, allowing for rapid restoration of normal anatomy, sparing the patient the emotional turmoil and sense of loss associated with mastectomy. Dr Matthew Camp perfected his breast reconstruction skills during his tenure at Mayo Clinic and is now happy to offer these services to patients in Minnetonka, Edina, and Burnsville.
Deciding When to Have Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of your mastectomy, called immediate reconstruction, or weeks, months, or years later, called delayed reconstruction. Delayed reconstruction requires more time because tissue expanders are often necessary to redevelop a breast mound and two to three procedures may be required to complete the process.
Immediate reconstruction is Dr Camp’s preferred approach. In this approach, the general surgeon and plastic surgeon work together to remove the breast tissue in the least damaging way possible (usually through the breast fold). This leaves all the skin, and in most cases, the nipple as well. A custom fit shaped breast implant is then inserted to replace the breast tissue. The result is a breast reconstruction that is difficult to discern from the original. The main difference from the patient’s perspective is loss of nipple sensation. These cases take about 3-4 hours to complete.
Delayed reconstruction may be preferred if radiation and chemotherapy are necessary. This allows the tissue to recover prior to additional steps being taken. Radiation in particular can adversely affect the result of an implant based reconstruction. Use of the patient’s own tissues (such as the belly skin and fat) may be preferred in such cases.
Before & After
About Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Each patient’s medical situation, surgery goals, and breast size/shape influence the unique approach taken by the plastic surgeon during breast reconstruction. Often reconstruction involves two or more procedures over time.
- Implant based breast reconstruction: This can be done in either an immediate and or delayed setting. In the case of immediate reconstruction, the final implant is placed at the same time as the mastectomy. In delayed reconstruction, tissue expanders are placed to grow a breast mound pocket. After 6 months, this tissue expander is removed and replaced with a final silicone breast implant.
- Autologous flap reconstruction, which may be performed with a variety of techniques, uses the patient’s own tissue to replace the breast mound. These tissues can be obtained from the back, belly, or buttocks. If this is your desired approach, Dr Camp will refer you to a plastic surgeon who does this on a frequent basis.
What to Expect During Recovery
Everyone’s experience is different due to the multiple factors in play. You will be given specific information based on your case at the time of consultation.
Will health insurance pay for breast reconstruction surgery?
This is covered by insurance. If Dr Camp is in network for you, the bill will be sent to your insurance. If you are out of network, the fee and implant costs will be your responsibility. We will help provide forms for you to submit to your insurance to be reimbursed. Financing options are available.
Where will my breast reconstruction be performed?
If the case is performed jointly with the general surgeon, it will take place in the hospital as an immediate reconstruction. Delayed reconstructions are performed at an outpatient surgery center under the care of a board certified anesthesiologist.