Memorial Health provides specialized breast care, high-tech treatment options and support for families coping with breast cancer.
The Center for Breast Care
Memorial Health Outpatient and Wellness Center
4700 Waters Avenue
Savannah, GA 31404
Our breast care services
- Breast reconstruction
- High risk screening
- 3D mammograms
Within the breast reconstruction program at Memorial Health, skilled surgeons rebuild natural-looking breast mounds that closely match the form, size and symmetry of the natural breast. Most women are candidates for breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. Factors that may impact reconstruction include:
- The size and location of the cancer, which impacts the amount of tissue that must be removed with the breast
- Issues related to a previous surgery, radiation therapy or other conditions
- Other health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, smoking or obesity
Types of breast reconstruction
There are two ways for surgeons to create a natural-looking breast mound:
An expander is an empty silicone pocket placed beneath the pectoral muscle. It is gradually filled with saline solution over a period of several weeks. This allows the skin to expand and grow naturally. Later, an implant filled with saline or silicone gel is inserted into the space created by the expander.
Autologous/natural tissue reconstruction
This involves using the woman’s own tissue to construct a new breast mound. At Memorial Health, we offer the following types of autologous tissue reconstruction.
TRAM (abdominal) flap
In this procedure, surgeons create a transverse rectus abdominous muscle (TRAM) flap by removing fat, skin and muscle from the abdomen. The TRAM flap is tunneled under the skin and up to chest wall to create a breast mound.
Latissimus dorsi (back) flap
This is similar to the TRAM procedure, except that the fat, skin and muscle are tunneled in from the upper back instead of the abdomen.
DIEP flap microvascular surgery
The deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap also removes the patient’s own skin, tissue and feeding blood vessels from the lower abdomen, but it does not cut the abdominal muscle. The tissue, with its working blood vessels, is reattached to recipient vessels at the mastectomy site by means of a high-definition microscope. Because working blood vessels are reattached, the breast mound has a constant supply of blood. The DIEP flap typically requires a longer surgery and hospital stay, but preserves abdominal muscle function, which results in less pain after surgery.
SPY Technology for Breast Reconstruction
Memorial Health was the first in Savannah to offer state-of-the-art SPY technology for breast reconstruction. The SPY imaging system lets surgeons see actual blood flow between the abdominal flap and the breast skin flaps.
During reconstruction surgery, surgeons inject a safe fluorescent dye into the body. A laser within the SPY system follows the dye and sends the surgeon high-quality video images of blood flow within vessels, micro-vessels, tissue and organs. The images appear within minutes and in real-time. This allows surgeons to ensure a healthy blood flow to the breast mound and precisely reattach blood vessels and the breast skin flaps.
Possible complications of breast reconstruction surgery
Every surgical procedure carries some risk. Your doctor will discuss all of the risks with you. Complications that may occur after breast reconstruction include:
- Fluid collection
- Excessive scar tissue
- Anesthesia problems
- Circulatory problems with the flap
- Capsular contracture if the scar or capsule around an implant begins to tighten
Preparing for breast reconstruction
Before your surgery, your physician’s office or a representative from Memorial Health will contact you for a pre-surgery interview. You will speak with a registered nurse about your medical history, receive information about your procedure, receive your pre-surgery instructions and be encouraged to ask questions. This is in addition to working with the breast care nurse navigator who will assist you throughout your treatment.
Your procedure will require a hospital stay of one to three days. After surgery, it is very important to follow your doctor’s orders regarding rest, pain management, drain care and wound care.
High risk screening in Savannah, Georgia
The Memorial Health Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute (ACI) offers a Breast cancer RISK program to monitor women who have a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer. The word RISK stands for:
There are things you can do every day to reduce your cancer risk, such as maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.
When you are aware of your cancer risk, you are more likely to notice a problem and intervene early, when it is most treatable.
Imaging technology such as 3D mammography and breast MRI are vital tools to screen for abnormal cells or changes in the breast.
Education is power. When you know your risk, you can make informed choices to protect your health.
When you are referred to the Breast cancer RISK program, you meet with a fellowship-trained breast physician to talk about your cancer risk. Your mammogram is reviewed by a fellowship-trained radiologist who specializes in breast imaging.
We then develop a customized plan for you that includes recommendations for long-term screening with our advanced imaging techniques, diet and exercise guidelines and intervention strategies.
Who qualifies for the program?
Conditions that qualify for a referral include a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, or a history of atypical ductal hyperplasia, atypical lobular hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.
Make an appointment
To learn more about the Breast cancer RISK program, call (912) 350-2700. Please request a referral from your primary care physician or OB/GYN. If you need assistance getting a referral, let us know and we will help.
3D mammograms in Savannah
The Breast imaging center at Memorial Health offers 3D mammogram technology, which allows us to see more detail and detect tumors at an early stage. It also reduces the stress of unnecessary call-backs and further testing.
The Memorial Health breast imaging center is a comprehensive facility for overall breast health, including cancer detection, treatment and recovery. Our radiologists and imaging technologists work together to provide a full range of services.
- 3D screening mammography to examine breast tissue and detect changes or abnormalities
- 3D diagnostic mammography to diagnose a breast condition
- Breast ultrasound to quickly visualize and assess breast tissue
- Stereotactic needle biopsy to pinpoint the exact location of a breast lump and remove a tissue sample
- Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy to locate and remove a sample of suspicious tissue
- Breast MRI to locate small abnormalities that are sometimes missed by a mammogram
- MRI-guided biopsy to pinpoint and remove tissue samples for testing
- Breast health education
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Our satellite locations
Our breast care center also sees patients in the following locations:
131 Peachtree St
Jesup, GA 31545
101 West Mulberry Blvd
Pooler, GA 31407
23630 Highway 80 East
Statesboro, GA 31404
14 Okatie Center Blvd South
Okatie, SC 29909
What to expect
A technologist will position you and compress your breast between two plates. An X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, capturing multiple images in just seconds. This produces 3D images of your breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, providing greater detail than traditional 2D mammograms.
The technologist quickly reviews the images on a monitor to ensure everything is captured. The compression is then removed and the images are sent to our fellowship-trained radiologist for review.
2D versus 3D imaging
The 3D technology captures slices that the radiologist can scroll through like pages of a book. By looking at these slices, the physician can see that the breast tissue is normal and no additional testing is needed.