In this article from the Houston Chronicle, the author writes that a breast reconstruction patient (and breast cancer survivor) “likes that her breasts came, basically, via a tummy tuck.” While I support efforts in the media to educate women about breast reconstruction options, there’s a clear differentiation between the abdominal component of certain breast reconstruction procedures and a “tummy tuck” that I think is worth clearing up.
My abdominoplasty procedures in the Ft. Myers area are performed to reduce unwanted fat and skin in the abdomen while tightening abdominal muscles. They are strictly cosmetic (although similar procedures may be performed for massive weight loss patients and may be considered reconstructive). What the article is referring to is a method of breast reconstruction that uses skin and fat from the abdomen. This is a reconstructive procedure, NOT a cosmetic procedure.
Here”s how this method of breast reconstruction (superficial inferior epigastric artery, or SIEA) is performed: blood supply, skin, and fat are tunneled from the abdomen to the breast. Abdominal muscles remain unaffected. This is where the author of the Chronicle may see a tummy tuck connection: this method of breast reconstruction leaves the patient with a scar below the bikini line (as with a tummy tuck) and a slimmer belly (as with a tummy tuck) because tissue is removed from this area.
However, the primary goal of this type of breast reconstruction is to create a new, thriving breast mound from the patient”s own tissue. It”s not seen as (or marketed as) a “two for one” special for women who want a tighter tummy along with their reconstruction.
Ultimately, if a breast reconstruction patient also wants a tighter, slimmer abdomen, she may need to discuss paired or combined procedures with her plastic surgeon. Because, unlike SIEA breast reconstruction, a tummy tuck in the Fort Myers / Naples area will also mend weakened or separated abdominal muscles, completing the cosmetic improvement.