Breast Reconstruction Surgery | Loyola Medicine

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Whether you are a cancer survivor or have opted for preventive surgery due to a strong family history of breast cancer, Loyola’s breast reconstruction surgery experts will restore your breast shape and confidence with breast-conserving surgery. Our experienced breast reconstruction surgeons are fellowship-trained and work as part of a clinically integrated care team, partnering with surgical oncologists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, radiation therapists, oncologists and other specialists to provide state-of-the-art surgical techniques. 

Your breast surgeon will take the time to understand your needs and goals and develop a treatment plan that is tailored for you. If you have undergone a complete or segmental mastectomy, your surgeon can provide surgical reconstruction with the following approaches:

  • One-stage immediate reconstruction — With this approach, reconstructive surgery to restore your breast form occurs immediately after a mastectomy.
     
  • Two-stage reconstruction — Sometimes breast implant surgery is delayed so extra skin can be grown with a tissue expander. A medical balloon is placed beneath skin on the chest and is expanded. One benefit of delayed reconstruction is that it provides time for further cancer treatment if needed, such as radiation therapy. Once the skin has stretched enough, your surgeon can move forward with implant surgery.

Loyola’s specialists are experienced in providing the following advanced breast reconstructive techniques:

  • Breast implants — Your surgeon will talk with you about the different implants available, including saline implants, silicone gel implants and cohesive gel implants, which use a thicker silicone gel.
     
  • Breast reconstruction with flap surgery — In some cases, your surgeon may decide that the best treatment is a tissue transfer, which includes muscle, fat, blood vessels and nerves. Tissue transfers from one part of a patient’s body to another are called flaps.

    Common types of flap surgery include:

    • GAP flap (gluteal free flap or gluteal artery perforator) — This surgery repurposes skin, nerves, fat, blood vessels and muscle from the buttocks to shape a new breast.
       
    • Latissimus dorsi flap — This approach uses skin tissue, fat, nerves, blood vessels and muscle from under the shoulder blade to craft a new breast.
       
    • TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) — With this surgery, a section of skin tissue, fat, nerves, blood vessels and muscle is removed from the lower abdominal wall and skillfully shaped into the form of a breast.
       
    • DIEP flap (deep inferior epigastric perforator) — This is similar to a TRAM flap in that tissue is removed from the lower abdominal wall, but the transfer involves just skin tissue, blood vessels, nerves and fat; no muscle tissue is removed.
       
    • TUG flap (inner thigh or transverse upper gracilis flap) — A section of skin, blood vessels, fat, nerves and muscle involving the bottom fold of the buttock and inner thigh muscles are used to form a new breast.
       
  • Tissue support — Several different medical supports may be used during breast reconstruction to support the implant or align the transplanted tissue.