Plastic surgeons at Duke perform every type of breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy or lumpectomy, when appropriate. Our nationally renowned surgeons work closely with your breast cancer team from the time of your initial breast cancer diagnosis to create a treatment plan that meets your individual needs. We help you make a personal decision about breast reconstruction based on all surgical options available today.
More breast reconstruction options
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 rebuild your breast. 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 is designed to provide the best cosmetic and health-related result. We will help you return to your normal activities following breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction surgery as soon as possible.
Choose Duke for your breast reconstruction surgery because we offer:
- 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.
- Full range of 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 options, including implants, techniques that use your own tissue, nipple-sparing mastectomy, nipple reconstruction, breast reduction and breast lifts. We make sure you understand your options, including which technique and timing is right for you.
- Impressive microsurgical expertise. Our surgeons are experts in microsurgical techniques that detach, move and successfully reattach tissue from one area of the body to another. Their microsurgical skill lets them perform all types of breast reconstruction techniques and ensures you experience the best possible reconstruction specifically designed for you.
- Respected surgeons. Our surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced breast reconstruction techniques to doctors across the country and around the world. Our combined skill and leadership means you work with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced breast reconstruction surgeons in the U.S.
We perform cosmetic procedures, including breast reduction and breast lifts, to ensure symmetry with both breasts.
Rebuilding the 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.
When possible, surgeons will save 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 the nipple once the breast has healed. The areola may be tattooed or created from similarly colored skin taken from the groin area.
During tissue reconstruction, unwanted fat may be removed from your thighs, buttocks or abdomen and used to create a smooth, rounded breast following mastectomy.
Silicone or saline implants may be used to rebuild the breast, either at the time of, or following 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 less and shorter surgeries, as well as fewer scars. Patients typically recover faster than other reconstruction techniques.