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Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure done to reshape the breast after mastectomy, whether due to illness or prevention of cancer, injury or other congenital reasons. Breasts may be reconstructed using either silicone or saline-filled implants, or using living tissue taken from the patient to rebuild the breast. Breast reconstruction may start at the time of mastectomy, or done later. The process usually requires two or more operations.

When breast implants are used, the surgeon will place the implant either behind or in front of the pectoral muscle, and when placed in front, they are held in place using a special tissue acellular dermal matrix. Over time, the body naturally replaces the acellular dermal matrix with collagen. While some women can have the implant placed at the time of mastectomy, often a two-stage process using a tissue expander is required to stretch the remaining skin in preparation for the implant.

When using living tissue, a procedure called a TRAM flap is performed, removing a portion of skin, fat and muscle from the lower abdomen and transferring it to the pectoral area to be used in rebuilding the breast.

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