Male Breast Reconstruction Highlighted at Male Breast Cancer Coalition Meeting

By: Courtney Floyd

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This year, Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, was joined the Male Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) at their annual conference to discuss male breast reconstruction options. “Like women, men can experience the same concerns about their appearance following breast cancer surgery,” shares Dr. Chrysopoulo. “Knowing there are reconstructive options to help correct contour irregularities is a great relief to some male breast cancer patients.”

Male breast reconstruction can include several different procedures. It can be performed at the same time as the breast cancer surgery, or any time after. However, for those who require radiation as part of their treatment, it is recommended to delay reconstruction until treatment is completed.

Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is the most common method of reconstruction in male breast cancer patients. It involves removing fat (using liposuction) from one area of the body, purifying it, and re-injecting it into the reconstruction site. It is important to note, some of the injected fat will be reabsorbed over time and this can vary depending on the exact clinical situation. Patients must therefore be prepared to require more than one procedure for the best results.

Implants

A small implant can be used to reconstruct a male breast after mastectomy. The implant is placed under the chest muscle in an operating room setting. Since the aesthetics of the male breast are usually quite different to the female breast, the best implant is often a custom silicone implant or pec implant.

Flaps

Some patients may require a more extensive type of mastectomy known as a radical mastectomy. This includes removal of the underlying pectoralis muscle(s). In these situations, tissue from the back (latissimus flap) can be used to reconstruct the chest muscle and overlying breast. In very rare cases, other tissue flaps can also be used depending on the size of reconstruction required.

Nipple Reconstruction

Nipple reconstruction can be performed on its own or in conjunction with any other reconstructive procedure. Although there are many ways to perform nipple reconstruction, the bow-tie method, which gets its name from the bow-tie shaped incision, is the preferred method at PRMA. When performed alone, nipple reconstruction can be completed in the office setting under local anesthetic. The nipple and areola are later tattooed for a more natural appearance. 3D tattooing after nipple reconstruction provides the most natural looking results.

Scar Revision

Scar revision can improve the appearance of breast surgery scars after mastectomy or lumpectomy, and can help reduce discomfort from severe scarring or scar tethering to the chest wall. Scar revision can also help improve chest contour defects, particularly when combined with fat grafting.

Tattooing

Various forms of tattooing can be performed, either alone or in conjunction with other reconstructive procedures. These include 2D or 3D nipple tattoos or a decorative tattoo.

Although breast reconstruction may not be for everyone, it is important for men undergoing breast cancer surgery to know all their options and discuss what option is best for them with their medical team.

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