Microsurgical breast reconstruction after mastectomy

microsurgical breast reconstructionmCancerPartner sat down recently with Adeyiza Momoh, M.D., an assistant professor of plastic surgery who specializes in breast reconstruction, to discuss microsurgical breast reconstruction following mastectomy. He will be speaking on this topic later this month at Hats and High Tea for Breast Cancer Awareness, a community event sponsored by the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Community Outreach Program.

mCancerParter: Dr. Momoh, what is microsurgical breast reconstruction?

Dr. Momoh: “Microsurgical breast reconstruction” describes multiple techniques that transfer tissue (skin and fat) from other parts of a patient’s body to the chest for reconstruction. The transfer requires connecting small blood vessels at the chest with the aid of a microscope. Generally, we take the tissue from the lower abdomen in most women. There are some good reasons for choosing the lower abdomen:

  • This lower abdominal tissue is similar in quality to breast tissue.
  • A good number of patients in their late 30s to 50s have ample tissue that can be used.

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New trends in breast reconstruction

Women making a decision about breast cancer surgery should include a plastic surgeon in that discussion. Several options for breast reconstruction give women choices, with each choice carrying its own risks and benefits.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“The decision tree is complicated. A plastic surgeon ultimately has to walk through the choices with patients and help them consider which option is best for their individual situation and preferences,” says Adeyiza Momoh, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at the U-M Medical School.

As more younger women at high risk of breast cancer choose to have their breasts removed before cancer develops, a procedure called a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap has become increasingly popular. The technique involves transplanting tissue from the woman’s abdomen into her chest. But unlike traditional tissue reconstruction, called a pedicled TRAM flap, where the entire rectus muscle was included with the flap, a DIEP flap involves a complex approach to dissecting out the small blood vessels and leaving the muscle behind. The blood vessels are then reconnected to blood vessels in the chest.

The technique preserves the abdominal muscle function and typically has fewer abdominal complications. Continue reading