Male Breast Reconstruction
Male Breast cancer is not often reported in popular media or the news. Since they have breast tissue, men get breast cancer too and they can have the same chest wall deformities and concerns about their appearance as any other breast cancer patient. Like women, male breast cancer patients have several breast reconstruction options.
Male breast reconstruction can involve multiple methods to correct deformities following a mastectomy, lumpectomy, radiation or some combination of these treatment modalities. Mastectomy is by far the most common surgical treatment for male breast cancer patients. While reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy in some cases, it is usually performed later, after completion of all breast cancer treatment. Reconstructive methods include fat grafting, nipple reconstruction, scar revision, and even implants to help reestablish a natural chest contour.
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.
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 usually a custom silicone implant or pec implant.
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 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 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.
Various forms of tattooing can be performed, either alone or in conjunction with other reconstructive procedures. These include:
- A nipple-areola tattoo (2D or 3D), either alone or in conjunction with nipple reconstruction
- A decorative tattoo including the entire surgical site
Regardless of the type of tattoo, patients should seek out artists with the appropriate licensing and experienced in tattooing over surgical sites and scars.
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.
To learn if you are a male breast reconstruction candidate or to schedule a consultation, please contact us here or call us at (800) 692-5565.
It is important to know you are not in this battle alone. To connect with others who have been diagnosed with male breast cancer please click HERE.