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Massey offers microsurgical breast reconstruction

Jul 18, 2014

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Santosh Kale, MD, plastic surgeon in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at VCU Medical Center and VCU Massey Cancer Center, is one of a few plastic surgeons in the Richmond area to offer microsurgical breast reconstruction. Because of the high level of skill and specialized equipment required to perform microsurgery, this form of breast reconstruction is typically only offered at specialized medical centers such as Massey.

The purpose of breast reconstruction is to restore the appearance of a patient’s breast following a mastectomy. Microsurgical breast reconstruction, also known as autologous breast reconstruction, uses a patient’s own tissue transplanted from another part of the body to reconstruct the breast.

“Microsurgical breast reconstruction can offer some cosmetic benefits for patients who require radiation treatments after their mastectomy,” says Kale. “Any skin that is damaged from radiation treatments will be replaced by unaffected skin during reconstruction.”

Benefits 
Microsurgical breast reconstruction can offer several benefits over reconstruction techniques utilizing prosthetic implants.

  • Flexibility and time - microsurgical breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy or any time after and typically requires only one surgery. 
  • Lower risk of infection since a patient’s own tissue is used for reconstruction
  • Breast implants can fail, which requires additional surgery to repair. Many patients who experience an implant failure choose to undergo microsurgical reconstruction to restore their breast.

Types of microsurgical breast reconstruction
There are several different types of microsurgical breast reconstruction, and each type corresponds to where the tissue is harvested. Typically, tissue from the patient’s abdomen, the same tissue that is discarded in a “tummy tuck,” is used. However, tissue from the inner thigh, buttocks or another part of the body may be used if necessary. Earlier forms of microsurgical breast reconstruction techniques often damaged a patient’s abdominal muscles when harvesting the required tissue, but procedures performed at Massey allow surgeons to work around the muscle. This allows for better recovery and less side effects from the surgery.

Schedule a consultation
Each patient is different, and it’s important to have a discussion with your physician, surgeon and plastic surgeon when deciding which breast reconstruction option is right for you. To schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon at Massey, please call the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at (804) 828-7874.

Written by: John Wallace

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