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Sibley Memorial Hospital

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Plastic surgeons with an interest in breast reconstruction are active participants in the Sullivan Breast Center  multidisciplinary team. Reconstruction options have greatly improved over the past decade, providing women with satisfying results. Our plastic surgeons discuss with each patient her specific expectations and concerns in order to achieve the best result.

The least invasive option is placing a temporary implant called a tissue expander underneath the pectoralis muscle at the time of surgery. The expander is inflated with saline over several office appointments to reach the desired size. It is exchanged for the final implant, which is made of saline or silicone, about a month after expansion is completed.

In select patients, permanent implants may be placed at the time of mastectomy. There now exists a wide range of saline and silicone implants based on the patient's and plastic surgeon’s preference.

For patients desiring to use their own body’s tissue for breast reconstruction, the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap or TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous) flap are the most common options. These surgeries remove the skin and fat tissue from the abdomen thereby providing a “tummy tuck” and build a new breast mound. The TRAM flap is more invasive, removing the abdominal muscle and fascia.