The April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official organ of the ASPS, looks at advances in breast reconstruction to repair the damage left when cancer is removed.
After lumpectomy or breast conservation surgery, plastic surgeons are now remodeling the breast with remaining breast tissue or tissue taken from another area of the body.
Three additional advances the report examines are nipple-sparing mastectomy, deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flaps, and acellular dermis graft slings.
In nipple-sparing surgery, cancerous tissue and the duct system of the breast are removed, but a pocket of skin, the nipple and areola are saved. Plastic surgeons insert either an implant or the patient’s own tissue into the pocket to recreate the breast. The result looks very similar to the patient’s original breast because the original nipple and areola are used.
Nipple-sparing surgery is still somewhat controversial, but if the origin of the tumor is away from the nipple and areola, it is considered safe, according to the report.
DIEP flap surgery involves using skin and fat from the lower abdomen to recreate the breast. The muscle is left intact, eliminating potential muscle weakness in the donor area, according to the report.
For patients undergoing a mastectomy, DIEP flap surgery may allow them to better resume normal activities since they have not loss muscle function in their abdomen.
Finally, the use of acellular dermis derived from cadaver tissue allows plastic surgeons to create a new breast pocket, in patients undergoing a mastectomy, without using a tissue expander. An implant may then be inserted, creating an aesthetically pleasing breast.
[Source: ASPS/Medical News Today]