Breast Reconstruction

Dennis R. Holmes, M.D. -  - Breast Cancer Surgeon

Dennis R. Holmes, M.D.

Breast Cancer Surgeon located in Santa Monica, CA

Breast Reconstruction Specialist
Premier breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Dennis Holmes, with locations in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Glendale, and Los Angeles, California, works with the area’s leading plastic surgeons to plan breast reconstruction, either using the patient’s natural tissues, via saline or silicone implants, or a combination of the two.

Breast Reconstruction Q & A

by Dennis R. Holmes, M.D.

When can I undergo reconstruction?

Dr. Holmes works with plastic surgeons to plan the best choice of reconstruction for each woman. In most cases, breast reconstruction can be started, and often even completed, at the time of the mastectomy. This is known as an immediate reconstruction. In some cases reconstruction must be deferred, an approach known as delayed reconstruction. The appropriate type and timing of reconstruction is an individual decision, based on the patient’s body size, the amount of preserved breast tissue, overall physical health, cancer stage, and desired breast size. Dr. Holmes and the plastic surgeon work together to create the best individualized game plan.

What is tissue flap reconstruction?

Tissue flap reconstruction uses tissue, muscle and/or fat from other parts of the body to create a natural-looking and feeling breast. Various tissue flap reconstruction options exist. Some of the most common are:

  • DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) Flap uses skin, fat, and blood vessels from the abdomen, but no muscle is removed.
  • TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis) Flap uses skin, fat and muscle from the abdomen.
  • LAT (latissimus dorsi muscle) Flap uses skin, fat and muscle from the back, and this procedure is usually combined with an implant.

What is implant reconstruction?

Saline and silicone implant reconstruction are widely used today for women who do not desire tissue flap reconstruction. The implant is usually inserted behind the pectoralis major chest muscle, not directly under the skin. To create an adequate space behind the muscle for placement of the implant, the plastic surgeon might first insert a temporary, empty implant (called a tissue expander) that is injected with saline over several weeks until the overlying skin and muscle has been adequately expanded to accommodate a full-size saline or silicone implant. The need for a tissue expander and the time it takes to fill it is determined by the size of the final breast size desired by the patient. Some patient may undergo implant reconstruction at the time of mastectomy without the need of a tissue expander. This is called an immediate implant reconstruction.

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