Breast reconstruction is a field that Dr. Tsai has a special interest and experience in. Patients who have undergone treatment for breast cancer, those who have congenital breast deformities, or even patients who have had trauma to their breasts, fall under this category. Having spent time training at MD Anderson, one of the top cancer treatment centers in the world, he is empowered with the knowledge and skills of the newest, modern reconstructive techniques.
Breast reconstruction due to cancer encompasses the vast majority of reconstructive needs. As reconstructive surgeons, our goal is to restore the form and shape akin to a natural breast. There are several factors that affect how the breast is reconstructed, mainly dictated by cancer treatment (need for chemo/radiation therapy; partial or full excision of a breast). You will need to work with your breast oncology surgeon regarding your cancer treatment, as removing and treating cancer is the most important issue.
Depending on the recommendations to treat your breast cancer, there are several different paths for breast reconstruction. Reconstruction can be performed in an immediate fashion (at the same time as excision of the cancer) or in a delayed fashion (at a later time). Reconstruction falls into two main types: implant based or autologous (own tissue) based.
With implant-based reconstruction, a tissue expander (balloon) is placed under the skin of the excised breast tissue at the time of cancer excision surgery. Over the course of the next several weeks, the balloon is inflated to stretch the skin and overly tissue, to create a space for a breast implant to be placed at a later second surgery. This is the most simple, straight-forward option; however, it takes several months from start to finish to complete. The second type of reconstruction, autologous, involves using your own tissue to recreate a breast. This technique requires that there is sufficient soft tissue on your body to recreate the size of breast you desire. Tissue can be taken from your abdomen or your back. The surgery is more complicated with a longer recovery time; however, it can be performed in one operation.
During your consultation, Dr. Tsai will review your medical history and your cancer treatment plans from your oncology physician, and together as a team, create an individualized plan that will meet your goals and expectations in a safe manner.