Breast Reconstruction - Kouris MD - Hinsdale, IL
Breast reconstruction is a very intimate journey that a patient goes through. We're dealing with the very high emotion of breast cancer. If a woman is to undergo mastectomy surgery, having a conversation of trying to rebuild and create a breast, this is a very emotional time for a patient. I take that very seriously.
Traditionally, with breast reconstruction, there are a number, a multitude of ways to proceed with the actual reconstructive process. Broadly speaking, there is a either implant-based reconstruction or what we call an autologous reconstruction, which is trying to build a breast with known tissue.
My expertise is in implant-based reconstruction. And historically, the way we used to go about doing that was to do a two-step approach where we would first put in what's called a tissue expander which nestles the deflated implant. Fill that implant over time after the person feels to in essence stretch the skin of the muscle to create a breast now. And then the second step, go back to surgery to replace that first balloon implant with a true solid implant.
What we have evolved to is something called directed implant reconstruction where, if the conditions are favorable at the time of the mastectomy, that is the skin quality is good, the muscle tone is good, to do everything in one step, in one setting. Where we have the patient have mastectomy surgery and we completely reconstructive process on the table during surgery.
Breast reconstruction is definitely a commitment. It's about a six-week recovery for patients. We're seeing patients almost weekly for those six weeks, making sure that they're healing the right way. Making sure that we're monitoring for signs of infection and drainage accumulation, things like that.
It's a process, a journey. We take our patients through it. It's emotional. We get to know our patients very well as a result, and there's definitely a long-term connection at the end of the process. Breast reconstruction patients I know for a lifetime. I monitor them annually, and it's something that I take very seriously.