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Breast Reconstruction in Charlotte
For some women, reconstructive breast surgery is needed. At Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery, our surgeons offer several different types of surgical procedures to restore breasts.
There are several conditions that may lead to the need for breast reconstruction. Whether the cause of the condition is congenital, such as Poland’s Syndrome, or the result of a mastectomy after breast cancer or prophylactic mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery is a wonderful option for women to help restore the look and feel of a natural breast.
There is no one right reconstructive plan for women who need breast reconstruction. Dr. Kara Criswell and Dr. Bryan Criswell have each performed thousands of breast reconstructions for over 15 years and they understand this is a personal decision. Our doctors will offer guidance through the preoperative and postoperative process of this important surgery.
We offer individualized information about breast reconstruction to help you consider this very personal decision. We encourage you to call to make an appointment with either Dr. Kara Criswell or Dr. Bryan Criswell to further discuss which option is best for you.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery: Your Options
Breast reconstruction is most often performed in multiple stages. It can be performed as immediate reconstruction (in the same surgery as the mastectomy), or as delayed reconstruction, occurring months or even years after the mastectomy. Breast reconstruction typically involves several procedures over many months. We want our patients undergoing breast reconstruction to understand each different stage. Our surgeons are committed to focusing on patient care, and in producing the most positive outcome at every stage.
Breast Reconstruction with Implants
For many patients, breast reconstruction with implants is the most effective way to rebuild the breast tissue. The first stage often involves placing a tissue expander beneath your chest muscles. This expander is a balloon-like device made from gel. Over time, saline fluid is added to inflate the expander and stretch the skin. The expansion takes place over a few weeks to months, with regular office visits. Eventually, the skin and muscle are stretched sufficiently so that there is room for the placement of breast implants.
Stage two involves placing the implant. The balloon expander is removed, and your surgeon will then insert a breast implant.
The implant can be saline filled or silicone gel (‘gummy bear’ style). The choice of the type of implant is between you and your surgeon, but generally, gel implants can provide more natural look and feel.
Stage three involves the reconstruction of your nipple and areola. Skin from the central portion of the breast is used to recreate the nipple structure. This is generally performed as a separate surgery a few weeks after placement of the implant. Once your surgeon has surgically created the nipple and areola, many women go on to have the area tattooed so that the color match looks natural. Dr. Criswell uses a medical tattoo device to permanently color the areola. This is done in the office over one or two sessions.
In many cases, after a mastectomy, the loss of a breast (or breasts) is very emotional. Restoring your womanly curves can be very important to your feelings of confidence and self-image. We have worked with many, many women who need breast reconstruction, and we recognize the importance of this procedure to their overall feelings of confidence, and the ability to move forward after breast cancer. Natural-looking, soft, rounded breasts, including nipples that appear natural, are all possible with modern surgical techniques. We invite you to meet with us to find out more.
How to Choose a Breast Reconstruction Surgeon
When a woman needs breast reconstruction, it can be an emotional issue, and finding the right surgeon could not be more important. At Criswell & Criswell, we are proud of the many referrals we get from cancer surgeons and specialists, and the trust they place in our knowledge, skills, and results. To choose a surgeon, it is advised that you meet personally with the surgeon, so you feel comfortable and confident. Take the time to review photographic images of prior breast reconstruction surgeries. Discuss all your questions and concerns. Breast reconstruction is a highly personal, important matter, and you want to be completely confident that your surgeon cares about you as an individual, and will do everything possible to produce the results that you envision. At Criswell & Criswell, we genuinely care about our patients, and are proud to be asked to help them move forward with breast reconstruction.
Community Resources for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors
Charlotte has many wonderful resources for women with breast cancer. Carolinas Breast Friends is one of them. It is a non-profit organization committed to uniting and helping women with breast cancer in all stages of survival. The organization centers on those who want to create a social and educational outlet for women united in a sisterhood of survival and hope. We invite you to find out more about this important group.