Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction

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Breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy or lumpectomy is a personal decision. Recent improvements in breast reconstruction techniques give you more options for how and when to have your breast rebuilt. Our plastic surgeons work closely with your breast cancer team as soon as you are diagnosed. We explain your options, recommend the best approach based on your situation, and create a tailored treatment plan that's designed to provide the best cosmetic and health-related result. We'll help you return to your normal activities as soon as possible after breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction surgery.

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Breast Reconstruction Options

We are one of the only centers in North Carolina to offer the full range of implant and tissue-based breast reconstruction surgery techniques. 

Tissue Reconstruction

Rebuilding your breast using your own skin and tissue from your back, abdomen, thigh, or buttocks can create a more natural look and feel than implants. However, because the surgery is more complex, it requires more microsurgical expertise and skill. Our surgeons perform the full spectrum of tissue reconstruction procedures using abdominal tissue (DIEP flap) and thigh tissue (TUG flap or PAP flap). The differences between these techniques refer to the blood vessels used to support the tissue and the amount of muscle that may be sacrificed when the needed tissue is removed. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and recommend the approach that works best for you.

Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy

When possible, surgeons will leave the nipple during mastectomy for use during breast reconstruction. If the nipple and surrounding tissue -- the areola -- are removed during mastectomy, your surgeon will use your own tissue to reconstruct a nipple once the breast has healed. The areola may be tattooed or created from similarly colored skin taken from the groin area.

Using Body Fat to Your Advantage

During tissue reconstruction, unwanted fat may be removed from your thighs, buttocks, or abdomen and used to create a smooth, rounded breast following mastectomy.

Implant Reconstruction

Silicone or saline implants may be used to rebuild the breast, either at the time of or after mastectomy. During the first stage of the implant procedure, a tissue expander is used to stretch the remaining breast skin so that the implant will fit. Our breast reconstruction surgeons have pioneered some of the tissue expanders that are now in use for these procedures. The expanders are inflated during several office visits. Once the desired implant size has been achieved, you return to surgery for the tissue expander to be replaced by the implant. Implant reconstruction requires fewer and shorter surgeries, as well as fewer scars. Patients typically recover faster than with other reconstruction techniques.

Breast Reduction and Breast Lifts

We perform cosmetic procedures, including breast reduction and breast lifts, to ensure symmetry with both breasts.

Why Choose Duke

Integrated Teamwork
From the time of your initial diagnosis, our plastic surgeons are an integral part of your breast cancer team. We work closely with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists to ensure you have the information you need to make the best decisions about your care. We explain how we develop your personalized treatment plan and are always available to answer your questions.

Microsurgical Expertise
Our surgeons are experts in microsurgical techniques to detach, move, and successfully reattach tissue from one area of the body to another. Their microsurgical skill allows them to perform all types of breast reconstruction techniques. It also ensures you the best possible reconstruction,
designed specifically for you.

Respected Surgeons
Our plastic surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced breast reconstruction techniques to doctors across the country and around the world. Our combined skill and leadership mean you work with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced breast reconstruction surgeons in the U.S.

Among the Best Cancer Hospitals in U.S.

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best.