Surgical procedure, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, in which excess skin and fatty tissue are removed from the lower half of the abdomen. The scars that are associated with an abdominoplasty are almost identical to the flap donor site scars associated with a TRAM flap.
Connection of the ends of two blood vessels to reestablish blood flow into the tissue being transferred.
The pigmented skin at the base of the nipple of the breast. Because the areola contains some breast ducts (milk-conducting tubes), it is generally removed with the breast tissue during mastectomy.
Technique of draining fluid from a surgical site using a needle and syringe, as in cases of seroma.
Lack of symmetry, or sameness, between the left and right sides of the body, as in differences in size, shape, or projection between the two breasts or differences in body contour caused by removal of a flap from only one side of the body.
Wasting away of a tissue or organ.
Autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction
Medical term referring to breast reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue to make the new breast.
Medical term for the armpit.
Removal of lymph nodes in the armpit.
Medical term referring to both sides of the body, such as a procedure performed on both sides of the body or to both breasts, as in bilateral mastectomy or bilateral breast reconstruction. See Unilateral.
Device consisting of a silicone elastomer shell filled with either saline or silicone gel. The device is placed under the pectoralis major muscle and overlying breast skin of the chest wall or under an LD flap after it has been transferred to the breast area. A breast implant is also called a breast prosthesis.
Medical term referring to the main body of the reconstructed breast, usually before the nipple has been reconstructed.
Medical term referring to the volume of breast tissue.
Contraction or shrinkage of the scar tissue (capsule) that forms around a breast implant or tissue expander. The extent of the contracture can vary from undetectable (i.e., the breast maintains the same shape and softness it had just after surgery) to a grossly deformed and hardened breast.
Layer of scar tissue that forms around a tissue expander or breast implant.
Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy
Removal of the opposite healthy breast.
Delayed breast reconstruction
Reconstruction of a breast some time after mastectomy. Delayed reconstruction can occur weeks, months, or even years after mastectomy.
Deep inferior epigastric perforator flap, a technique of autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction using a free flap of tissue from the abdomen that is essentially a sophisticated form of the TRAM free flap. Unlike the TRAM free flap, the DIEP free flap does not include any part of the rectus abdominis muscle.
Medical term used to indicate the process of surgically separating tissues of interest from the surrounding tissues so that the tissues of interest can be used in some way.
Tubular device that is placed under the skin of the breast or the flap donor site and that exits through a small incision in the skin to a suction device (drain reservoir or canister). The drain is placed at the time of surgery to remove excess wound fluid and blood during the postoperative period.
Medical device that attaches to a drain (tube) to provide suction and collection of wound fluid or blood during the postoperative period.
External breast prosthesis
Device that fits into a bra to replace the missing form of the breast after a mastectomy. The device can be made of a foam rubber or silicone elastomer and silicone gel.
Type of tough, flat, tendon-like tissue that surrounds the abdominal muscles.
Death of fat tissue due to inadequate blood supply. Fat necrosis can occur in a flap, in the skin remaining after a mastectomy, or at the flap donor site.
Unit of tissue composed of an island of skin and fat with or without its underlying muscle.
Flap donor site
Location on a patient’s body from which a flap has been removed.
Unit of tissue (flap) in which the blood vessels that conduct blood into and away from the flap are cut so that the flap can be transferred to the breast site. To reestablish blood flow to the flap, blood vessels at the breast site are connected to the flap s vessels with the aid of an operating microscope, a process called anastomosis. A free flap is also called a free tissue transfer or microvascular free flap.
Gluteus maximus muscle
Muscle of the buttock. Part of this muscle is removed with tissue and skin to create the inferior gluteal free flap.
Reconstruction inferior gluteal artery perforator (buttocks).
Immediate breast reconstruction
Reconstruction of the breast immediately after removal of the breast (mastectomy), while the patient is still under the same general anesthetic used for the mastectomy.
Implant-based breast reconstruction
Methods of breast reconstruction in which a breast implant is used to supply the missing breast volume.
Inferior epigastric artery and vein
Blood vessels that enter the rectus abdominis muscle from near the groin to supply blood to this muscle and, by way of perforators to the fat and overlying skin, to the TRAM flap and DIEP free flap.
Inferior gluteal free flap
Unit of tissue obtained from the lower part of the buttock and transferred using microsurgical technique to create a new breast. This free flap comprises skin, fat, and some of the lower part of the gluteus maximus muscle.
The fold or crease that forms the lower border of the breast.
Internal mammary blood vessels
Blood vessels located just under the ribs along the sternum, or breastbone. These blood vessels are frequently used as recipient blood vessels for a free flap. These vessels also give rise to the superior epigastric artery and vein, which constitute the primary blood supply to the TRAM pedicled flap.
Latissimus dorsi muscle
Muscle from the back that is removed, along with tissue and skin, during an LD flap procedure.
Surgical procedure involving a wide local excision of the breast tumor. This procedure is usually performed in association with an axillary dissection and postoperative radiation therapy.
Surgical procedure in which part of the breast or the entire breast is removed. Types of mastectomy include partial mastectomy, segmental mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, total mastectomy, and skin-sparing mastectomy. Each type of mastectomy is distinguished by removal of different amounts of breast tissue.
Modified radical mastectomy
Surgical procedure that involves removal of the nipple, areola, some breast skin, the breast tissue under the breast skin, and most of the lymph nodes in the axilla.
Protuberance of the breast upon which the breast’s milk ducts (tubes) open and from which milk is drawn by a nursing infant.
Microscope designed for use in the operating room and used in anastomosis. It is used in microsurgery to magnify objects, such as small blood vessels, so that they can be joined together with very fine sutures.
Reconstruction using profunda artery perforator (thighs).
Partial flap loss
Death of skin and fat tissue of a flap due to inadequate blood flow.
Surgical procedure in which the tumor and a surrounding cuff of normal tissue are removed. The amount of normal tissue removed can vary from small (as in a lumpectomy) to considerable (as in a quandrantectomy).
Pectoralis major muscle
Large chest wall muscle located just beneath the breast and to which the breast is attached. One pectoralis major muscle is located under each breast. These muscles are commonly referred to as the pecs.
Type of flap that includes skin, tissue, and a strip of muscle containing the blood vessels that supply blood to the flap. These blood vessels are not severed from their original location in the body when the flap is transferred to the chest during breast reconstruction.
Medical term for the small artery and vein in a flap that traverse the muscle and fascia to carry blood into and away from the flap. One or more perforators connect to the blood vessels forming the vascular pedicle of the flap.
Unit of tissue and skin (flap) that is supplied by small blood vessels (perforators) that branch from the larger artery and vein that form the vascular pedicle of the flap. The perforators usually course through a muscle located between the flap and vascular pedicle.
Surgical procedure in which a subcutaneous mastectomy, total mastectomy, or simple mastectomy is performed for patients who are at high risk for breast cancer.
Medical term referring to the degree of drooping that a breast has when the patient is standing or sitting. The larger the patient's breasts, the more ptotic the breasts will tend to be, especially as she gets older.
Form of wide local excision in which a larger part of the breast containing the breast tumor is removed than in a lumpectomy. Depending on the size of the breast, quadrantectomy usually causes a deformity of a small to medium-sized breast. This procedure is usually performed along with an axillary dissection and postoperative radiation therapy.
Treatment of breast cancer by ionizing radiation. This treatment is also called irradiation or radiotherapy.
Surgical procedure in which the nipple, areola, most of the breast skin, the breast tissue under the breast skin, the pectoralis major muscle, the pectoralis minor muscle, and the lymph nodes in the axilla are removed. If immediate breast reconstruction is not performed, a skin graft may be needed to close the large wound remaining on the chest wall after this form of mastectomy.
Rectus abdominis muscle
Abdominal muscle that is used, along with overlying fatty tissue and skin, for a TRAM flap.
Following the initial breast reconstruction one or more revision surgeries may be performed to improve imperfections in the breasts.
Superior gluteal artery perforator flap, a free flap technique of autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction in which skin and fatty tissue (but not muscle) from the upper part of the buttock are used to make the new breast.
Sterile solution of salt and water that is made to the same concentration as body fluid or IV fluid.
Surgical procedure in which the breast cancer, a thin layer of normal breast tissue around the cancer, any breast skin close to the breast cancer, and some or most of the lymph nodes in the axilla are removed.
Reconstruction using superficial inferior epigastric artery (tummy)
Complex, long-chain polymer molecule, poly(dimethylsiloxane), in which the main chain is composed of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. The polymer is used to make the silicone elastomer shell of a breast implant filled with either saline or silicone gel. Silicone is used to make the gel in silicone gel-filled implants and for many other medical products.
Surgical procedure in which the nipple, areola, minimal breast skin, all breast tissue, and in some cases, the lowest level of lymph nodes are removed.
Surgical procedure in which the nipple, areola, and entire breast gland are removed. The procedure is similar to a modified radical mastectomy except that all uninvolved breast skin is preserved.
Medical term meaning under the skin.
Superior epigastric artery and vein
Blood vessels that enter the rectus abdominis muscle from under the ribs to supply blood to this muscle and, by way of perforators to the fat and overlying skin, to the TRAM flap.
Strand or fiber used to close a surgical wound. Sutures are made of a variety of materials and are available in many sizes.
Equivalent proportions on the left and right sides of the body. One goal of breast reconstruction is to ensure that the two breasts match, that is, are equivalent in terms of size, shape, and projection.
Process of adding pigment to a reconstructed nipple and areola to give a natural appearance. (See Nipple and Areola Reconstruction.
Balloon-like device, consisting of a silicone elastomer shell, that is placed under the pectoralis major muscle. The device is slowly inflated by serial (usually weekly) injections with saline. This device hydraulically expands or stretches the muscle and overlying breast skin so that a breast implant can eventually be placed.
Gradual process of hydraulically expanding or stretching the pectoralis major muscle and overlying breast skin so that a breast implant can eventually be placed in the space created by the tissue expander.
Surgical procedure in which the nipple, areola, some skin, all breast tissue, and some or most of the lymph nodes in the axilla are removed; see Simple mastectomy and Modified radical mastectomy. Some forms of total mastectomy also involve the removal of the pectoralis major muscle, the pectoralis minor muscle, or both; see Radical mastectomy.
Transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap, a technique of autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction using a flap composed of skin, fat, and a part or all of the underlying rectus abdominis muscle. The skin and underlying fat are oriented transverse or perpendicular to the underlying rectus abdominis muscle.
TRAM free flap
Type of TRAM flap in which the blood vessels that supply the flap with blood are severed from the body and reconnected (anastomosed) to blood vessels at the breast (mastectomy) site. (See Breast Reconstruction with a TRAM Flap.
TRAM pedicled flap
Type of TRAM flap in which the blood vessels that supply the flap with blood traverse the length of the rectus abdominis muscle and enter the flap. A TRAM pedicled flap remains connected to the body at the upper part of the abdominal flap donor site near the sternum (breastbone).
Reconstruction using transverse upper gracilis (thighs)
Medical term meaning one side of the body and often used to describe a procedure performed on one breast (as in a unilateral mastectomy or unilateral breast reconstruction). See Bilateral.
Medical term referring to the formation of a blood clot on the inside of the recipient blood vessels, the blood vessels attached to the free flap (the vascular pedicle) or both blood vessels. A blood clot prevents the flow of blood into or out of the free flap. If a thrombosis is not removed from the blood vessel within a few hours of the clot forming, total flap loss will result.
Wide local excision
Surgical procedure in which the tumor and a surrounding cuff of normal tissue are removed through a skin incision.