Dr. Woods works collaboratively with some of the top breast cancer surgeons in the Southeast to plan holistic treatment of breast cancer. We see our role as the reconstructive surgeon to rebuild your breast after mastectomy in the most natural appearance possible. We utilize four dependable, reproducible, proven techniques and customize each one to the individual patient.
Implants only – for medium to small breasted women with non-relaxed breasts who desire minimal size change to their reconstructed breasts, this method works great. The entire breast mound rebuilding is accomplished in ONE stage. We use very natural silicone gel implants, placed through very small incisions on your breast. Surgery time is
- 1 hour per breast, hospital stay is usually one night, rarely two. Total recovery time to return to normal daily activity, work and exercise is 3 weeks.
- 2. Tissue expanders followed by implants – This method is similar to #1 but differs in that it requires two stages. It is best for women who either want to enlarge their final breast size from what they start with, or for women with quite relaxed breasts who want their new breasts lifted. Dr. Woods will still worked through small incisions made by the cancer surgeon and place an inflatable, adjustable temporary implant (called a tissue expander) into the space left by the mastectomy. The expander is only partially inflated. The rest of the hospital stay and recovery is similar to “Implants Only”, but requires the patient to come in to the office ervery two weeks for inflation of the expander to stretch the remaining skin and muscle out to the size and shape the patients desires. A second, short one-hour operation is required to exchange the temporary Expander for a permanent silicone gel implant. This is carried out under general anesthesia, but you go home the same day, and recovery is only about a week.
Latissimus muscle flap and implants – We utilize a broad, expendable muscle, and small island of skin from the back to act as a “sling” to support a silicone implant.
Ideal candidates for this technique include women who have relaxed breasts and who would like to maintain a relaxed, mature appearing breast, and women who have had prior radiation to the breast. Neither operation #1 nor #2 do well with prior radiation damage to breast skin, nor do they easily creat a sagging breast, if that is what the patient requires. The back operation require 2-1/2 hours per breast to complete in the operating room, 1-2 nights in the hospital, and 3-4 weeks to recover. There will also be a permanent 5-6 inch scar across the mid-back which usually fades significantly.
Your own tissue from your abdomen or buttock (TRAM or DIEP flap) – some
Women with excess skin and fat in their lower abdomen may wish to utilize this tissue excess to create a new breast. Dr. Woods tends to recommend this most extensive surgery only if one of the above methods is absolutely not suitable for one’s breast reconstruction. TRAM or DIEP flaps require long abdominal scars, 4-10 hours of operating time, 2-4 days in the hospital, more pain and discomfort, and 5-6 weeks of recovery. In some cases, this may be the best method for a particular patient (especially if other attempts at reconstruction using simpler methods have failed).
Every woman is different and Dr. Woods recognizes this. We deliberately plan to set aside 1-1 1/2 hours of consultation time for new breast reconstruction patients for Dr. Woods to review your medical history, examine your body, and have a two-way conversation regarding the possible reconstructive methods for each patient. Pre and Post operative photos of similar patients will also be reviewed with you