Breast cancer is one of the most difficult and life-changing illnesses a woman will ever face. A mastectomy is usually performed by doctors as a last resort. Recognized as symbols of femininity and motherhood, breast removal can have a profound effect on a patient. Post-mastectomy, emotions can be overwhelming when considering breast reconstruction. Yet, grief gives way to hope through this amazing, cutting-edge procedure.
From the beginning, Dr. Capizzi has distinguished himself as a leader in the breast reconstruction arena. He is always improving his patient experience through investigating new techniques and innovations. Due to remarkable skill in tackling this challenging, complicated procedure, he is often chosen to partner with NC’s leading general surgeons. Dr. Capizzi is part of a comprehensive team of hospital-based physicians across North Carolina. Their collective goal is achieving spectacular, game-changing results for survivors of breast cancer.
Other Types Of Breast Reconstruction Surgeries
In certain circumstances, breast reconstruction may correct congenital breast asymmetry, hypoplasia (underdevelopment) or absence. Dr. Capizzi is the ideal choice for these demanding procedures. Women represent the largest group of reconstruction patients. However, Dr. Capizzi also treats men with contour abnormalities, achieving excellent outcomes.
Types Of Reconstruction
During your consultation, Dr. Capizzi will outline every option available to you. These options will be explained in great detail to give you the most accurate expectations. Each patient is unique, and Dr. Capizzi will personalize his surgical plan to ensure you achieve the results you deserve.
Two-Stage Expander & Implant Reconstruction is the most common preferred method nationwide. There is also a one-stage method of breast reconstruction.
Read below to discover the differences between these procedures:
One-Stage Breast Reconstruction
Depending on the patient and the mastectomy, one-stage breast reconstruction may be the best option. In this surgery, mastectomy and breast reconstruction with implants are performed at the same time.
For patients who qualify, one-stage breast reconstruction has several significant advantages, including:
- One surgery instead of two lowers risk, decreases costs, and minimizes patient discomfort
- Avoiding tissue expansion for weeks after mastectomy
- Patient regains consciousness after mastectomy surgery with whole breasts
- Reduced scarring and better cosmetic results for many cases
- Faster recovery and return to active lifestyle.
But not every breast cancer survivor is a good candidate for one-stage breast reconstruction. The patient, oncologist, and plastic surgeon makes that decision. Your medical team must consider whether it is safe to preserve the skin of your breast and the nipple-areola complex, given the size, stage, and characteristics of the cancer and location in relation to the nipple.
Achieving excellent results in one-stage breast reconstruction happen with advanced mastectomy techniques:
In this procedure, the surgeon removes the nipple and areola and then the breast tissue through the same incision. They then insert an implant to reconstruct the breast through the same incision. In a later surgery, the surgeon reconstructs the nipple and areola. These hide the incision, leaving little to no visible scarring.
Nipple and Areola-Sparing Mastectomy
The surgeon removes breast tissue through an incision in the crease under the breast. They then insert an implant to reconstruct the breast through the same incision. The nipple and areola remain intact during this procedure. As they may contain small amounts of breast duct tissue, not every breast cancer patient will be a good candidate for this procedure.
Two-Stage Breast Reconstruction
For some breast cancer patients, two-stage breast reconstruction may be the better option. In this procedure, Dr. Capizzi places tissue expanders when performing the mastectomy. These silicone expanders are gradually filled with saline solution, allowing the body to generate skin. After two to three weeks of stretching the skin, an additional surgery is performed. During this time the surgeon removes the expanders and places breast implants.
Two-stage breast reconstruction may be the best option for several reasons:
- It prevents damage to breast implants when radiation treatment is required after mastectomy
- Placing the expander allows a capsule to form to provide support for the implant
- It is better to have expanders exposed to bacteria that form after a mastectomy, as the expanders will later be removed
- Mastectomy can result in thinner tissues that are unable to support an implant.
Reconstructing the breasts in two stages may also have cosmetic advantages. Stretching the skin with expanders to accommodate larger implants can make a fuller bust size possible.
Two Types of Tissue Flap Procedures
During breast reconstruction, there is the option to use tissue from another part of the body to form new breasts. This method is often chosen when a patient has undergone radiation. Radiation treatment may prohibit the introduction of implants. This method, ‘autologous tissue flap’ reconstruction, can be further divided into two types.
The TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous) Flap
This method involves transferring tissue from the abdomen. It can be a great choice when a woman also desires a tummy tuck with her reconstruction surgery. Dr. Capizzi has constructed over 500 tram flaps since 2001 and can recommend whether this is the ideal solution for you. The procedure takes around 3-4 hours and requires an overnight stay in the hospital.
The Latissimus Dorsi Flap
This method involves transferring tissue from the back to create a new breast mound. It can be effective in creating volume and suppleness in the newly constructed breast when used with implants. This procedure takes approximately 4 hours, and requires an overnight stay at the hospital. Often Dr. Capizzi will choose to combine the Latissimus Dorsi Flap procedure with tissue expanders for a hybrid approach.
Galaflex, Vicryl, and Seri scaffolding are made from biodegradable mesh that fuses with the body’s organic tissue to provide support for breast implants. Surgical mesh strengthens the body’s natural fibers and can be used to complement the breast reconstruction process. As an ever-evolving practitioner seeking the latest medical advances, Dr. Capizzi is one of the first surgeons to introduce these products to Charlotte.
Today, Dr. Capizzi performs more direct implant reconstruction after nipple sparing mastectomies (NSM) than any other type of breast reconstruction. A successful breast reconstruction is a possibility when working with a skilled surgeon and the best implants on the market.
Before & After
Take a gander at Dr. Capizzi’s before and after photos, giving you a visual representation of his stunning results.