Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy: How Does Each Affect Breast Reconstruction?

February 8th, 2017

breast reconstruction northern virginiaNorthern Virginia and Fairfax patients who have surgery for breast cancer may have either a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. Each procedure offers different benefits, and each can affect the approach I recommend for breast reconstruction.

Understanding the Differences Between Mastectomy and Lumpectomy

In a mastectomy, the surgeon removes the breast completely. If you have a mastectomy, you may or may not require additional therapies, such as chemotherapy or radiation.

A lumpectomy:

  • Removes only a portion of the breast and conserves more of your breast tissue.
  • Usually takes a margin of normal tissue to help ensure that the procedure has removed all of the cancer.
  • May require multiple surgeries depending on whether or not the margin was clear of cancer.
  • ALWAYS needs to be combined with radiation therapy to treat cancer effectively.

Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy

Northern Virginia and Fairfax patients have several options following a mastectomy.

First, I can recreate their breast using an implant. The size, shape, and style of the implant I select for you  will depend on  factors such as the patient’s goals and the amount of tissue available. I typically recommend we use silicone implants rather than saline because of their more natural look, feel, and movement.

The second option for breast reconstruction after mastectomy is to use the patient’s own tissue. Natural tissue has the most realistic feel of any option, but it does require transplanting tissue from the patient’s back or side, leading to a lengthier recovery:

  • Most Northern Virginia and Fairfax mastectomy patients with an implant can go home the next day. They tend to have a recovery period of about 4-6 weeks (independent of chemotherapy and radiation).
  • Natural tissue breast reconstruction usually requires at least a three-day hospital stay and a recovery of at least 6-8 weeks.

Breast Reconstruction Following Lumpectomy

Some Northern Virginia and Fairfax patients I see choose to conserve breast tissue by opting for lumpectomy rather than  mastectomy. To reconstruct a breast from lumpectomy, I can reshape this remaining  tissue into a smooth, round, natural-looking shape.

A lumpectomy doesn’t limit us to using only the tissue that remains. If it is your goal to have larger breasts or to have breasts that match your original size before the lumpectomy, we can use an implant or transplanted tissue to create the volume you want.

Alternatively, many women who have breast reconstruction actually prefer to reduce the size of their breasts and recreate an attractive and feminine shape. I can remove tissue as part of your procedure to create this result.

Mastectomy, Lumpectomy, and Adjuvant Treatments

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can both impact the type of breast reconstruction I recommend to Fairfax and Northern Virginia patients. Lumpectomy, in particular, always requires radiation therapy to effectively treat breast cancer, so we need to take this into account when planning the procedure.

More detail about the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are available on my site, but in brief, there are certain phases of breast reconstruction we may not want or need to complete before therapy is finished and you have recovered. I can advise you about treatment and scheduling based on your needs.

Plan a consultation with Dr. Jespersen by calling (703) 992-7969 or completing our contact form.

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