Giuliana Rancic Sheds Light on Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction has been in the news lately due to the announcement of E! News star Giuliana Rancic’s breast cancer and double mastectomy. Giuliana opted for an immediate breast reconstruction procedure following her mastectomy. Fans of the E! star are praising her choice to share her experience with the world and bring awareness to breast reconstruction. Chances are many of us aren’t familiar with the procedure.
Most women undergoing a mastectomy are given the option of breast reconstruction to rebuild the size and shape of the removed breast(s). Many women (like Giuliana) chose to reconstruct the breast immediately following the mastectomy (during the same surgery). There is also an option to hold off on reconstruction and perform it at a later time.
Whether the procedure is performed immediately or down the road, there are two basic options for breast reconstruction: the use of implants or your own body’s tissues:
Breast Reconstruction with Implants
After a mastectomy, the breast skin is not thick or strong enough to hold a reconstructive implant. The plastic surgeon therefore inserts a special temporary implant called a tissue expander behind the major muscle on the chest wall. This expander is needed to stretch the chest wall muscle to make a pocket for the breast implant.
Over a period of several months, saline is injected into the expander, slowly expanding the chest wall pocket. When the pocket is fully expanded, the device is removed and a breast implant is placed in the new pocket. Other secondary operations may be performed at the same time or later, such as nipple reconstruction.
Immediate Reconstruction with Your Own Body’s Tissue
The body’s own tissues can also be used to reconstruct the breast. Your surgeon will remove tissue from certain areas of the body and use those to reconstruct the breast. Tissues (skin, fat, and muscles) can be taken from the abdomen (DIEP Flap/Free Flap); the back (Latissimus Flap) or buttock (Gluteal Flap). In some cases there isn’t quite enough tissue and a small implant is added to give enough volume.
As Giuliana Rancic stressed during several interviews, her decision to have a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction was all hers. Patients referred to plastic surgeon Dr. Franckle learn all of their options at the time of consultation. Every effort is made to give you a choice between simple and more complex procedure, depending on medical needs and your wishes for the final result.