Breast Reconstruction With Dr. George Kouris MD
For many who have lost a breast or both breasts, breast reconstruction has provided physical and emotional relief. No matter the reason for the loss, whether cancer or another illness, a surgical procedure, an injury or any other cause, more and more women are choosing breast reconstruction surgery to help recover from the loss.
Reconstruction techniques have improved dramatically over the past decades. Today, breast reconstruction surgery offers a look that is natural and improves self esteem and life quality. For those who are faced with a mastectomy, it’s possible to have breast reconstruction done during the same surgery. You awake from the procedure with your new breast and a contour that is virtually unchanged.
Breast reconstruction surgery restores your breast area as closely as possible to its natural form and size. With that in mind, though, you should recognize that even with the advances made in reconstruction surgery, the restored breast will not feel exactly like the natural one. There will also be some scars on reconstructed breasts and on the area of your body that donated tissue for the rebuilding of the breast.
If your breast reconstruction is for only one breast, Dr. Kouris might recommend a companion procedure like a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation for second breast, creating better symmetry, size and positioning.
The Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Breast reconstruction does require anesthesia. When you consult with Dr. Kouris, he will outline what sort of anesthesia will be is most suitable for your procedure.
There are two basic methods generally used for breast reconstruction. They are:
The Flap Method
Dr. Kouris will create a flap from muscle, fatty tissue and skin designed to cover the breast mound. This may be done by creating a flap with tissue taken from the abdomen. These techniques use fat and skin derived from either the abdomen or buttocks. Or the doctor may create a latissimus dorsi flap. This flap is created from including muscle, fat and skin taken from the patient’s back.
The Tissue Expansion Method
With this method, instead of building a flap, a tissue-expanding device is placed beneath the skin. Dr. Kouris fills the device with saline through a valve, which stretches healthy skin and leaves space for a breast implant. Recovery from this procedure is easier than with the flap method, but the full tissue expansion technique also takes longer to complete. From start to finish, the procedure generally takes four to six months.
The Direct to Implant Method
The direct-to-implant method of breast reconstruction allows us to complete the entire breast reconstruction in one single stage at the time of mastectomy surgery in the correct surgical candidate. With this method of reconstruction, Dr. Kouris evaluates the skin circulation intraoperatively immediately after the mastectomy surgery using florescent angiography with a revolutionary system called SPY Elite. This will objectively help determine if the skin can tolerate the pressure of a full implant after mastectomy surgery. If the skin circulation is favorable, Dr. Kouris then proceeds in creating a supportive pocket for the implant by using a portion of the pectoralis muscle along with a mesh to create an internal bra to support the implant. The skin is then closed and the perfusion reevaluated with the SPY Elite to ensure favorable circulation. In the right candidate, this technique allows for a single stage breast reconstruction which eliminates the traditional need for a second step surgery.
You and Dr. Kouris will discuss what is best for your particular breast reconstruction needs at the time of consultation.
Using Breast Implants In Breast Reconstruction
The majority of breast reconstructions use implants in rebuilding the breast. Regardless of the method used, a flap technique or the tissue expansion method, ultimately the next step will be breast implant placement. Implant placement will most likely be the case even if the flap or expansion techniques won’t be necessary in your procedure.
There are two types of implants available: saline breast implants, which use salt water as a filler, or silicone implants, which use a silicone gel as the filler. Saline implants are approved by the FDA women who are eighteen years of age or older. Silicone implants have FDA approval for women who are twenty-two years of age or older. Each type of implant has its own risks and benefits. During your consultation with Dr. Kouris, he will cover these thoroughly so you can make an informed decision on which is best for you.
Skin Grafts In Breast Reconstruction
Once the implant has been placed, Dr. Kouris uses skin grafts or other specific methods in recreating the nipples and areolas.
What To Expect During Recovery After Recovery
When your breast reconstruction is done bandaging or a support bra will be given to you in order to aid in the reduction of swelling, as well as to support your new breast.
You’ll see the results of the reconstruction immediately. As swelling fades you’ll be able to enjoy those results even more. Meanwhile, the incision areas will grow fainter until reaching their final shade sometime in the following months.
What To Expect During Your Consult with Dr. Kouris
When you consult with Dr. Kouris, the two of you will discuss your expectations along with determining which breast reconstruction method is right for you. You will also be told how the procedure will be done and what you should expect post-surgery, including the possibility of any side effects.
Dr. Kouris’ staff is happy to help you with any questions you may have before scheduling your breast reconstruction consultation with the doctor. Please call 708-354-4667 or use our Contact Page. We look forward to hearing from you.