The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer have experienced significant advances in recent years and so have the reconstructive options. New microsurgical procedures for breast reconstruction and lymphedema have expanded the possibilities allowing for more individualized treatment and improved outcomes. Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons is at the forefront of advanced microsurgical and non-microsurgical breast reconstruction providing state-of-the-art care to patients throughout Ohio and the country.
Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator (DIEP) Flap
Considered the gold standard for autologous breast reconstruction, the DIEP flap surgical technique uses the patient’s own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast after mastectomy. Excess fat from below the belly button is transplanted to the chest to give back volume and shape without sacrificing abdominal muscles. In addition to reconstructing the breast, the contour of the abdomen is often improved – much like a tummy tuck.
The DIEP surgery is great for patients with active lifestyles, as it preserves all the patient’s abdominal muscles. Patients experience less pain and maintain their core strength long-term. DIEP reconstruction surgery takes longer to perform and involves a longer hospital stay with a slightly longer recovery time as compared to implant reconstruction, but has a low complication rate and avoids the long-term maintenance inherent in implant-based reconstruction.
Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer (VLNT)
Vascularized lymph node transfer is a treatment for lymphedema. This procedure transfers lymph nodes from one part of the body to replace the damaged lymph nodes in another. Lymphedema is commonly associated with breast cancer and its treatment. As many breast cancer survivors can attest, it’s often not just their breasts that are affected by radiation and chemotherapy. Lymphedema, which causes painful swelling in the arms, can also develop as a result of damage to the lymph nodes from cancer and its treatments.
We are seeing great promise with patients having improved functional capacity, as well as reduced swelling in their arms. Not many centers offer lymph node transplant surgery combined with breast reconstruction. That’s what makes this especially unique.
Thigh-Based Breast Reconstruction Transverse Upper Gracilis (TUG) Flap
In autologous breast reconstruction surgery, tissue from the abdomen is the most commonly used tissue to reconstruct the breast. For women who don’t have enough abdominal tissue, inner thigh tissue can be used instead. The TUG and PAP flap surgeries are new innovative breast reconstruction techniques that use the upper inner and posterior thigh. These procedures are performed only by a select number of plastic surgeons throughout the United States. Although they are new to the region, these are techniques that I have performed many times over the last 10 years in New York and California. I have teamed with Dr. Diulus and we are proud to offer these exciting new procedures to our patients in Northeast Ohio.
This type of reconstruction avoids complications patients can have with implants. It’s also beneficial for those who have had reconstruction in the past but require revisionary surgery.
At Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons, a division of Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center, a physician-owned hospital, we are proud to offer comprehensive breast reconstruction, from the common to the state-of-the-art, that helps restore our patients’ lives.
To schedule a consultation with Crystal Clinic Plastic Surgeons, visit CrystalPlasticSurgeons.com/Consult or call (888) 284–1488.