Breast Reconstruction in Chicago
Dr. Steinwald is one of the leaders in breast reconstruction for Chicago area women. If your breast surgeon/surgical oncologist has recommended a complete mastectomy (often for larger or recurrent cancers, or widespread pre-invasive lesions), you have several options for immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. The 2 main choices involve the staged placement of implants (expander/implant reconstruction), or using your own tissues (autogenous reconstruction) to form a new breast mound, followed by nipple-areolar reconstruction, if desired. Occasionally, Dr. Steinwald combines these general approaches to achieve symmetry on the opposite breast by performing a breast lift or a breast reduction in Chicago.
More About Breast Reconstruction
The most commonly performed breast reconstruction procedure is still probably a staged "implant/expander reconstruction," which usually consists of placing a relatively deflated tissue expander beneath the pectoralis muscle of the chest, much like with breast augmentation in Chicago, at the time of mastectomy. The expander is then serially enlarged in the office with saline injections via a magnetic port over a period of 6 to 12 weeks. Later, when the patient/physician decides the size is appropriate, the expander is exchanged for a softer, permanent (usually silicone) implant at a second short outpatient procedure.
One of Dr. Steinwald's areas of specialization, however, is "autogenous tissue reconstruction", using the patient's own tissues, usually by way of a TRAM rotation flap from the abdominal area. This method ultimately creates a softer, more natural breast. In this procedure, a majority of the lower abdominal tissue (if adequate) can be elevated with an (expendable) underlying muscle, from which it gets its blood supply, and rotated into the chest wall defect and shaped to create a soft, natural-appearing breast mound. This circumvents the long-term risks of implants, and is ideal for many younger and/or healthier women who can tolerate the procedure. Recovery time for autogenous tissue reconstruction is usually somewhat longer (2 to 4 weeks, versus 1 to 2 weeks for each step of implant reconstruction), but most patients ultimately feel this is worth the trade-off.
A variation of this procedure which is gaining in popularity (due to its one-stage nature, and shorter recovery time) is the latissimus dorsi muscle/skin rotation flap (from the back on the same side), which usually requires an underlying implant for volume.
Your Next Step
If you are being advised to undergo a mastectomy in the near future, and wish to know your options for immediate breast reconstruction in the Chicagoland, please call Dr. Steinwald as soon as possible so that we may expediently schedule an appointment for you before you undergo definitive surgery, and thereafter coordinate scheduling with your surgical oncologist. If you have already had a mastectomy, the above procedures are often available to you as well, in the form of a delayed reconstruction. Either way, Dr. Steinwald will explain which options would best serve you.
To schedule a visit to our office, please call (847) 234-9464. We are eager to be part of the reconstructive/recovery process during this challenging time in your life, and you can rest assured that Dr. Steinwald and his staff at Lake Forest Plastic Surgery will be there to support you during every step of your journey towards becoming as whole as possible again.