In late 2016, Omaha, Nebraska scored big points for women. It became a site for a type of microvascular flap surgery for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Creighton Medical Center offered it first. It uses a woman’s own tissue, instead of artificial breast implants, to reconstruct her breasts. Therefore, many women who seek the most natural look and feel after a mastectomy choose it. Yet until now, women in the Omaha area didn’t have the option locally.
Autologous Reconstruction Available in Omaha
As you may know, this type of procedure is autologous reconstruction. The idea of autologous reconstruction is nothing new. Available in certain areas for some time, physicians in Omaha were not qualified to perform these procedures until recently.
The particular procedure in Omaha starts with a tummy tuck. The surgeon carefully disconnects blood vessels from tissue in the midsection. Then, he places the tissue in the breast area and carefully reconnects the blood vessels. This ensures the tissue receives the blood flow it needs to stay alive. Usually, this procedure takes between 12 to 14 hours to complete when women are having both breasts reconstructed.
The names for these procedures are TRAM or DIEP flap surgery. We’ve covered them, and other autologous reconstruction procedures, in more detail previously. As a brief reminder, TRAM, DIEP, and SIEA flaps are all types of autologous reconstruction. They use tissue from the abdomen to reconstruct breasts.
As with any type of surgery, complications associated with abdominal flaps and other forms of autologous reconstruction can occur. You can read more about those complications here.
One of Omaha’s First Patients
The new procedure helped Ryanne Marshall feel normal again after her double mastectomy. She knew she wanted to undergo breast reconstruction surgery and eventually decided that autologous reconstruction was the right option for her.
Dr. Gangadsu Reddy, one of Omaha’s only surgeons that’s state qualified to perform the procedure, worked on Marshall. The procedure took a total of 22 hours, and Dr. Reddy performed it alone. In ideal cases, two surgeons perform dual reconstructive procedures. Each surgeon focuses on one breast. When two surgeons are present, the procedure usually takes between 12 and 14 hours.
Although uncertain about what the result would be like, Marshall reported being pleased with the appearance of her reconstructed breasts. In addition, the autologous reconstruction procedure is considered to be a more permanent solution than reconstruction using implants.
Even though autologous reconstruction isn’t new, the new availability of abdominal flaps in Omaha is good news. It shows that autologous reconstruction options are on the rise for women. For many women, autologous reconstruction is only available if they travel to a different city, or even a different state. Consequently, as the procedure continues expanding to new areas, it will hopefully become a more common breast reconstruction option.
To read more about Garrett’s experience with the procedure, feel free to check here.
To find out what types of breast reconstruction are offered in your area, just scroll down to the reconstructive surgery section of the “Find a Plastic Surgeon” page of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.