Breast Reconstruction

Dr. Hankins is a reconstructive plastic surgeon that becomes involved once patients have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are going to have a mastectomy or a complete removal of breast tissue.  After the cancer is removed, breast reconstruction entails restoring lost breast contour. Dr. Hankins has the expertise and skilled hands to recreate breasts extremely close in shape, size and appearance to natural breasts. He is also able to counsel patients on whether a breast reconstruction procedure is the right personal decision. Breast reconstruction plastic surgery can be performed immediately, at the time of mastectomy or delayed.

The two basic types of breast reconstruction include a tissue expander with implants or autologous reconstruction using the patient’s natural tissue.

During a mastectomy the nipple, areola, and some breast skin is removed, tightening and reducing the breast envelope. An expander is placed under the pectoral to stretch the thinner skin, which allows for an implant.  Patients return to our office so the expander can be inflated, and with this technique, the skin progressively stretches to allow for an implant. A patient must then decide upon either a saline or silicone product and the size to continue with the next surgery which is removal of the expander and placement of  implant.

There are two procedures for autologous reconstruction, and recovery time differs from the expander procedure being between three to four weeks time. These two different techniques include either the TRAM flap or the latissimus flap in conjunction with an expander and implant.  With the TRAM approach, a tummy tuck is done on the patient to utilize this fat and skin for breast reconstruction. The patient must have enough tissue for this procedure.   The latissimus flap in conjunction with an expander and implant uses the latissimus muscle, which is a slim, broad muscle in the back.  The skin and fat from this back muscle is placed in the chest to provide tissue coverage placed over the implant. Dr. Hankins performs this method on patients whom have had radiation, are thinner, or if TRAM reconstruction is not an option.

A breast lift, breast enlargement, breast reduction or a combination of these can be performed by Dr. Hankins to create symmetry with the other breast. Symmetry procedure is typically covered by insurance.

A nipple can be reconstructed by Dr. Hankins a few months after breast reconstruction by using a bit of the skin on the breast along with the areola, using a tattoo method or skin graft.