According to press reports, a new style of breast reconstruction surgery is making waves in the medical community due to its ability to offer mastectomy patients an avenue for reconstruction that is far less lengthy than other existing methods. Rather than choosing a multi-surgery reconstruction that requires the placement of tissue-expanders that will later be swapped out for implants, the single-stage method instead places the implants during the initial procedure, relying on what’s called an acellular dermal matrix to provide the support that holds the implant in the correct place within the breast. New evidence shows that this method may ultimately turn out to be preferable, both from a physical and a psychological standpoint.
While every patient is different and no one procedure will be the best option for every single breast reconstruction candidate, the single-stage approach may give those considering implants more satisfying results in terms of naturalness and size of the reconstructed breast. The acellular dermal matrices are a next generation bio-material that can hold the implant in place so patients do not experience the shifting or sagging that can sometimes harm the initial natural appearance of an implant. The fact that women do not need to have a follow up surgery with this method also means that they are experiencing less physical and emotional stress from medical procedures, an advantage that would surely be welcomed by women who are often just coming off of weeks, months, or sometimes even years of aggressive cancer treatment.
The other, and likely more impactful, advantage that the single-stage method may have over other techniques is the fact that a clear psychological benefit of finishing the reconstruction in one procedure, rather than two, could be seen in all patients. As noted before, a large number of reconstruction patients are those women whose reconstruction marks the end of their fight against breast cancer.
Even under normal circumstances, plastic surgery can be an incredibly emotional and personal decision. Yet, when coupled with the nearly unimaginable emotional journey that is recovery from a life-threatening disease, it must be approached with a heightened level of care and consideration for the needs of the patient. This means that, if there are new methods of surgery that can produce the same great result while simultaneously making the process easier on the patients, then it is the surgeon’s obligations to at least explore such methods.
As a leader in plastic and reconstructive surgery in Southern California and beyond, we at BHP are constantly exploring new methods to increase the effectiveness of each procedure as well as the comfort of the patient during the entire process.