Breast reconstruction words to know

A

Areola

Darker, pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.

B

Breast augmentation

Breast enlargement by surgery (also known as augmentation mammoplasty).

Breast lift

Surgery to lift the breasts (also known as mastopexy).

Breast reduction

Reduction of breast size and breast lift by surgery.

C

Capsular contracture

A complication of breast implant surgery, capsular contracture is scar tissue that can form around a breast implant. It can make the implant shift out of place, change shape, or become painful. Surgery may be needed to correct the problem .

D

DIEP flap

A breast reconstruction procedure that uses fat and skin from the abdomen, but not the belly muscle, to re-create a breast shape.

Donor site

An area of your body from where the surgeon takes skin, muscle and fat to reconstruct your breast – commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.

E

Excision

To remove the skin

F

Flap techniques

Surgical techniques used to reposition your own skin, muscle and fat to reconstruct or cover your breast.

G

General anesthesia

Drugs and/or gas used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.

Grafting

A surgical technique to recreate your nipple and areola.

H

Hematoma

Blood pooling beneath the skin.

I

Intravenous sedation

Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.

L

Latissimus dorsi flap technique (lat flap)

A breast reconstruction procedure that uses part of the latissimus dorsi muscle from the back below the shoulder blade, along with fat and skin from that area, to re-create a breast shape. May be combined with an implant.

Local anesthesia

A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.

M

Mastectomy

A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.

Mammogram

An x-ray image of the breast

Mastopexy

Surgery to lift and reshape the breast. May be done to make a natural breast match a reconstructed breast. Also called breast lift.

T

Tissue expansion

A surgical technique to stretch your own healthy tissue and create new skin to provide coverage for a breast implant.

Tissue expander

A device similar to a deflated balloon placed under the skin and muscle at a mastectomy site to expand the skin in preparation for a breast implant.

TRAM flap

A surgical technique that uses muscle, fat and skin from your own abdomen to reconstruct the breast (also known as transverse rectus abdominus musculocutaneous flap).

Transaxillary incision

An incision made in the underarm area.

N

Nipple-sparing mastectomy

A type of mastectomy that saves all of the breast skin, including the skin of the nipple and areola. The skin may be filled with an implant, tissue from another part of the body, or a combination. Also called total skin-sparing mastectomy.

P

Pedicle TRAM flap

A type of breast reconstruction in which skin, fat and muscle are cut from the belly or back area and tunneled up to the chest with the blood vessels attached.

Prosthesis

A breast form made of silicone gel, foam, or other materials that feel similar to a natural breast. Some are worn with a regular bra, others fit into a special bra with a pocket and some stick to the skin so a bra isn’t needed.

S

Seroma

Buildup of fluid at the breast surgical site or flap tissue donor site.

Skin-sparing mastectomy

A type of mastectomy that saves as much skin as possible, including the natural fold under the breast, but removes the nipple and areola. The skin may be filled with an implant, tissue from another part of the body, or a combination. Results often look very natural with little scarring.