Glossary of terms

Areola: The darkened area of breast around the nipple.

Autologous: Reconstruction made possible from the muscle, fat and skin (tissue) from other areas of your body.

Capsular contracture: Shrinking or tightening of the scar tissue around the breast implant, making the breast harden, it may also cause pain.

Chemotherapy: A chemical used to kill cancerous cells in your body.

Delayed breast reconstruction: When your breast reconstruction is performed in a separate operation on a date after the mastectomy procedure is complete.

DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator) Flap: Flap reconstruction which uses fat and skin from the lower stomach but does not cause removal of any muscle.

Exposure of implant: When the skin covering the breast is too thin, causing the implant to break through the skin.

Free Flap: When the skin, fat, blood vessels and muscle are cut from the original location and then attached to blood vessels in the chest.

Full muscle coverage: When muscles in the immediate area of the breast are used to fully cover and support the implant.

High-riding breast: When implants are too high on the chest wall. Immediate breast reconstruction: When both the mastectomy and breast reconstruction are performed during the same procedure.

Implant: A prosthetic device used to recreate the breast shape following mastectomy. The most common type of implant is silicone.

Implant visibility: When the skin covering the breast is too thin, the implant may become visible through the skin.

Mastectomy: The surgical removal of all or part of a breast, usually performed as a treatment for cancer.

One-Stage Reconstruction: When the breast is reconstructed without the use of a tissue expander in a single procedure.

Partial muscle coverage: When the top part of the implant is covered with the chest muscle, leaving the lower portion of the implant unsupported.

Pedicle Flap: When a flap of tissue is attached to its original blood supply and the blood vessels are tunneled under the skin to the breast region.

Porcine: Derived from a pig.

Radiation therapy: Treatment with high-energy rays that damage cancer cells to stop them from growing and dividing, in order to stop the spread of cancer.

Scar tissue: Tissue that forms in your body as part of the natural healing process but is typically less functional and not identical to the original tissue. SIEA (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery) Flap: Like the DIEP flap procedure, this uses the lower abdominal skin and fatty tissue to make a natural, soft breast following a mastectomy.

SIEA (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery) Flap: Like the DIEP flap procedure, this uses the lower abdominal skin and fatty tissue to make a natural, soft breast following a mastectomy.

Surgical drain: A tube used to remove fluids from a surgical site after an operation.

Tissue expander: A device like a balloon which is put under the skin and chest muscle. The surgeon fills the expander over time (this can take up to several weeks) in order to stretch the skin and muscle over the breast.

Tissue matrix: A medical device derived from animal or human tissue.

TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Muscle) Flap: When tissue is taken from the lower abdomen (abdominal wall) and moved into the chest.

Two-Stage Reconstruction: When the breast pocket is stretched with an expander and then an implant is put in place (up to several weeks later).


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