Breast Reconstruction with Dr. Walter Erhardt in Albany, Georgia
Breast reconstruction can help you reclaim a breast that has been lost to breast cancer. Following a breast cancer diagnosis, there is an array medical, emotional and financial factors to consider, and exploring your options is an empowering way to move forward.
Dr. Erhardt has been performing breast reconstruction for more than 30 years. As the former President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, he is a recognized leader in the field of plastic surgery. Through advanced reconstructive techniques, Dr. Erhardt can restore the natural size, shape and position of your breast.
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction
- Many breast cancer survivors feel that breast reconstruction is both a physically and psychologically rewarding experience.
- There are several effective methods of breast reconstruction that can restore the natural symmetry of your breasts and normalize their appearance in clothing.
- Breast reconstruction can improve your self-esteem and body confidence
Factors such as your medical history, current stage and type of cancer along with any ongoing treatments may affect your candidacy for breast reconstruction. The best way to find out if breast reconstruction is right for you is to schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Erhardt.
How Breast Reconstruction Works
Your consultation: Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy or at a later date. During your consultation, it's important to be honest and upfront about your medical history, cosmetic expectations and recovery goals.
Your consultation will begin with a physical exam, followed by an in-depth discussion of breast reconstruction surgery. You will also have the opportunity to view Dr. Erhardt's gallery of before and after patient photos.
TRAM flap: TRAM flap breast reconstruction is often recommended for women who do not have enough remaining tissue for implant-only reconstruction. During surgery, Dr. Erhardt will make an incision on your lower abdomen that extends hip-to-hip.
A portion of abdominal tissue that contains skin, fat and muscle will be harvested. The harvested tissue may remain attached to its original blood supply and tunneled through the chest wall, or it may be completely detached, transplanted to the chest and connected to a new blood supply. An implant may then be placed to increase symmetry between the breasts
Latissimus dorsi flap: This reconstruction method offers an effective alternative to women who do not possess enough excess abdominal tissue for TRAM flap reconstruction.
During surgery, Dr. Erhardt will harvest a flap of tissue (skin, fat and muscle) from an incision made below your shoulder blade. The flap will remain attached to its original blood supply and be tunneled to the chest to recreate the chest mound. If desired, an implant can be placed to enhance symmetry between the breasts.
Healing time: Immediately following surgery, you will need to remain in the hospital for 4-5 days to recover. Bruising, swelling and discomfort are all common during recovery. Dr. Erhardt will provide you with prescription pain medication and a compression garment to minimize your discomfort. You should be able to resume work and other normal activities within 3-4 weeks. More strenuous activities should be restricted for up to eight weeks.
Expected Results: Multiple surgeries may be necessary to achieve your reconstructive goals. Following breast reconstruction, most women are happy with the results and feel a renewed sense of self-confidence and femininity. There are no long-term limitations with TRAM or Latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction, however, you may need to undergo physical therapy to help improve strength in the affected muscles of the back or abdomen.
Alloderm and Strattice for Breast Reconstruction
Following a mastectomy, many women no longer have enough tissue to secure a breast implant or tissue expander in place. Alloderm and Strattice are dermal matrix products that can be used to cover the lower half of an implant or tissue expander.
Once implanted, Alloderm and Strattice serve as additional reinforcement, allowing Dr. Erhardt to better control the cosmetic results of your surgery. Alloderm and Strattice also provide a scaffolding onto which the body can generate its very own tissue. Over time, Alloderm and Strattice will be completely incorporated into your body.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Erhardt
If you're ready to learn more about breast reconstruction, call 229-432-9325 to inquire about a consultation with Dr. Erhardt. Our plastic surgery practice is located at 506 Fourth Avenue, Albany, GA 31701.