Breast Reconstruction Near Chattanooga

Also Serving Cartersville, Dalton, Calhoun and North Georgia areas

Breast reconstruction restores normal breast appearance following breast removal surgery, a traumatic injury or congenital or birth defects that causes breast deformity. Many women win the battle over their breast cancer only to be reminded of it daily in the mirror or when they have to use a bra prosthesis to restore symmetry underneath clothing. Advancements in this area have been great in recent years and breast reconstruction is now available to most women. Further, reconstruction can often begin at the same time as the mastectomy. However, reconstructive options are a very personal choice. Several techniques allow an individualized approach to breast reconstruction. Dr. Williams partners with the patient's other physicians to create a cohesive surgical plan. He has vast experience in the area of breast reconstruction, using a variety of latest techniques.

If you or a loved one is facing mastectomy, contact Dr. Joel Williams today to talk about your reconstructive options.

Breast Reconstruction Candidates

Dr. Williams works with women who have lost one or both breasts due to cancer, another medical condition or severe trauma. Dalton / Chattanooga breast reconstruction candidates should not suffer from other medical conditions which could compromise the healing process. Ideally they should be non-smokers or commit to ceasing all smoking for a period before and after the procedure. They also should have realistic goals for surgery, and feel emotionally strong enough to undergo the procedure. For some women, there can be a heavy emotional component to breast reconstruction surgery; in some cases it is wise to seek the counsel of a psychologist or psychiatrist to prepare for the procedure.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast reconstruction may be performed at our accredited surgicenter near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size. If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed to match the other. In addition, a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts. Reconstructive options, including techniques for creating a natural nipple and areola, can be determined in a consult with the physician. Dr. Williams works closely with his Chattanooga / Dalton breast reconstruction patients to provide comprehensive care. Dr. Williams and his team consider it a privilege to walk alongside our breast reconstruction patients in their journey back to wholeness.

Flap Procedures

A flap procedure transports a section of tissue from one area of the patient's body (the donor site) to create the breast mound. The flap may remain attached to its original blood supply and tunneled through the body to the chest, or it may be detached and replaced on the chest. The donor site also varies; Dr. Williams can take skin and tissue from the patient's back, abdomen or buttocks.

In some cases, the tissue is enough to construct the entire breast; most of the time, it simply provides the muscle and tissue that is needed to cover and support a breast implant.

Tissue Expander

If the skin is too tight to accommodate a breast implant, tissue expanders may be placed to slowly expand the space. The expander is slowly filled over four to six months, gently growing a larger skin pocket for placement of the implant.

Breast Implants

Breast implants may be placed under a tissue flap or by themselves, depending on the individual patient and her needs. Dr. Williams can help determine whether saline or silicone implants would be a better choice.

Nipple/Areola Construction

There are several techniques to recreate the nipple and areola. These include grafting skin from other parts of the body or tattooing.

Recovering from Breast Reconstruction

Once the patient is out of surgery and ready to return home, she should enlist the assistance of a loved one to help her during the next few days. These days should be spent avoiding strenuous or stressful activities. Medication will be prescribed to alleviate any discomfort and prevent infection. Dr. Williams will provide explicit post-operative instructions that outline how to care for the surgical site, when to resume normal activities, and when to return to our office for a follow-up visit.

Benefits and Risks of Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction after cancer can tremendously improve a woman's self-confidence and quality of life. Restoring the volume and shape of the breasts can play a large part in the emotional healing process from breast cancer and helping a woman to feel feminine and complete. Studies have shown that women undergoing reconstruction focus on the future and may get reintegrated into their social circles and personal relationships sooner.

In order to make an informed decision about breast reconstruction, it's important to consider the potential risks, which include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor healing
  • Capsular contracture (with implants)
  • Implant rupture
  • The need for revisions as touch-up procedure to improve results

Something else to consider is the partial or complete loss of sensation in the breast and, if a flap is being used, at the donor site.

If you would like more information about breast reconstruction, please contact cosmetic surgeon Dr. Joel Williams to arrange a consultation.