One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Thanks to increased social awareness and an emphasis on screening and self-examination, breast cancer diagnoses are being made at earlier stages of the disease. This early detection can mean improved survival rates for patients and a variety of choices for reconstructive surgery treatment options.
It is important for every woman to have a clear idea of what exactly her diagnosis means and what the treatment options are. Each hospital and healthcare clinic will have a unique team of doctors, nurses, genetic counsellors, and social workers working together to provide you with this information. A surgical specialist (Breast Surgeon, Surgical Oncologist, or General Surgeon) will often be involved to discuss how to biopsy and remove the breast cancer, while a Medical Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist may be involved to discuss specific chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments for your particular cancer. In addition, a Plastic Surgeon will be involved to discuss and perform breast reconstruction surgery after the cancer has been removed.
What Are My Reconstruction Options?
You and your Breast Surgery specialist will decide which option is best to remove your breast cancer and prevent its recurrence. Options can include Breast Conservation Surgery (a.k.a. lumpectomy), Mastectomy (removal of the breast tissue and possibly the overlying skin or nipple and areola), or Oncoplastic Breast Surgery (removal of the tumor with a Plastic Surgeon performing a simultaneous breast reduction or breast lift procedure).
Your Plastic Surgeon will provide you will different options for breast reconstruction based on the surgery performed by your Breast Surgeon. These options include direct-to-implant reconstruction which consists of placing a breast implant at the same time of surgery with the Breast Surgeon, or placement of a breast tissue expander that will be gradually filled to a desired breast volume and exchanged for a breast implant at a later procedure. Alternative options include autologous reconstruction to recreate the breast shape using a patient’s own skin, muscle, and soft tissue from the back or the abdomen. In the event that the nipple and areola are removed as part of the breast cancer treatment, nipple and areola reconstruction and areola tattooing can be performed as the final stage of breast reconstruction.
The Capizzi Method™
Created by double board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Peter Capizzi, the Capizzi Method™ is an approach to providing world-class cosmetic surgery, aesthetic treatments, and plastic surgical procedures to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care and achieve exceptional results. The Capizzi Method™ includes:
- Readying skin and body in advance of procedures for ideal results
- Optimal care during surgery and aesthetic therapies
- Holistic post-procedure care
How Do I Know What Treatment is Best for Me?
Your breast cancer and breast reconstruction operations may be performed simultaneously with each other in immediate fashion, or in a delayed fashion with an intervening period of time between the cancer removal and breast reconstruction. Your surgeons will discuss which timing options are appropriate for you based upon your diagnosis and treatment plans. For immediate reconstruction procedures, patients spend the night in the hospital and are discharged home the next day. Patients are encouraged to be up and walking, showering, and gradually increasing day-to-day levels of activity and exercise. The final cosmetic results of your breast reconstruction will evolve over several weeks and months after the operation, and both your Breast Surgeon and the Plastic Surgeon will schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor your healing and recovery.
Leaders in the Field for Reconstruction:
A leader by example, Dr. Capizzi and the team at Capizzi M.D. Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care have the honor of helping the community. It is important to Capizzi M.D. to help others not only within the practice, but through the continued efforts of supporting causes both local and national. The Capizzi Foundation has been supportive of Carolina Breast Friends and Strides for Strength.