Anthony Echo, MD
Plastic Surgeon & Reconstructive Surgeon located in Houston, TX
Women who carry mutated BRCA genes can choose to prevent breast cancer with a prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction. As a plastic surgeon with advanced training in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery, Anthony Echo, MD, has extensive expertise in BRCA breast reconstruction. Dr. Echo also treats you with extraordinary compassion because he understands. He has a family member who was diagnosed with the BRCA mutations and is undergoing treatment. Schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Houston Methodist Hospital or the Willowbrook neighborhood of Houston, Texas.
BRCA Breast Reconstruction Q&A
How do breast cancer risks change due to BRCA mutations?
There are several gene mutations that are known to increase the risk of breast cancer. The most common are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Women have a 12% risk of developing invasive breast cancer throughout their lifetime. By comparison, women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have up to a 72% chance of developing breast cancer.
Since both breasts will be equally affected by the gene, women who learn they carry a gene mutation for breast cancer are recommended to have bilateral mastectomies with or without breast reconstruction.
How do I plan BRCA breast reconstruction before I’m diagnosed with cancer?
If you learn you have BRCA genes before you’re diagnosed with cancer, you have several more options available for reconstruction. Most importantly you will have time to consult with Dr. Echo and learn about the steps you can take to pave the way for an aesthetic breast reconstruction.
Dr. Echo talks with you about several options for reconstructing your breasts and how your breast skin, nerves, and nipple/areolas may be preserved during your mastectomy. This step ensures a natural appearance in your reconstructed breasts.
You can take other steps toward the most aesthetic reconstruction possible. For example, Dr. Echo may recommend lifting or reducing your breasts about 3-6 months before the mastectomy. This step ensures that the nipple and areola are in a more youthful position at the time of your mastectomy.
Typical options include:
- Breast lift or reduction prior to a mastectomy to preserve the nipple and areola
- Preservation or reconstruction of the nerves for sensation
- DIEP flap
- Immediate implant placement
What happens if I’m diagnosed with breast cancer?
After you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you have a lot to deal with, from difficult emotions and talking with family, to making decisions about your treatment. If you’re a young woman, you also face other decisions, such as freezing your eggs from your ovaries if you want to have a family after radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
You may not immediately think about breast reconstruction, but meeting with Dr. Echo is one of the first things you should schedule after learning you have breast cancer.
Dr. Echo can help you connect with the medical professionals you need. He works with a qualified team of:
- Genetic counselors
- Medical oncologists,
- Breast surgeons
- Radiation oncologists
- Breast radiologists
- Fertility specialists
- Support nurses.
He can help you:
Build your cancer team
Dr. Echo can help you connect with the medical professionals you need. He works with a qualified team of genetic counselors, medical oncologists, breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, breast radiologists, and support nurses.
Make breast reconstruction decisions
The breast reconstruction you receive often depends on the steps taken during your mastectomy. When you talk with Dr. Echo before your mastectomy, he can explain your options and then work with your surgical team to be sure they pave the way for your preferred type of reconstruction.
Move forward with treatment
After meeting with Dr. Echo, you undergo the breast cancer treatment recommended by your oncologist. If you don’t need radiation therapy or chemotherapy, he can perform your reconstruction surgery at the same time as your mastectomy.
What type of BRCA breast reconstruction can I have?
You have several options to choose from, but the most common options are breast implants or an autologous flap:
If you choose to use an implant, you go through a two-step process. First, Dr. Echo places a balloon-like device called an expander beneath the skin at the time of your mastectomy.
Over the next few months, the device gently stretches your skin and soft tissues so they can easily hold the implant. Then Dr. Echo restores your breast with a saline or silicone implant.
Autologous flap procedures take skin and muscle from one area of your body and transplant it to your chest to rebuild your breast. Dr. Echo specializes in DIEP flap breast reconstruction, a procedure that takes excess skin and fat from your abdomen to create a new breast.
After the tissue is moved to your breast, Dr. Echo uses his advanced training and experience in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery to reconnect the blood vessels from the flap to your chest.
Dr. Echo can also reattach some of the nerves that were cut during your mastectomy. As a result, he can restore feeling in your breast and prevent the common problems of post-mastectomy pain.
If you need exceptional care for BRCA breast reconstruction, call Anthony Echo, MD, or schedule an appointment online.
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