Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure that restores the shape and
symmetry of the breasts. This procedure is usually performed on women
who have lost a breast or breasts due to a mastectomy or who suffer from
a deformity at birth.
Women who have undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer or women who
have had a lumpectomy and the symmetry of their breasts are off balance
are good candidates for breast reconstruction surgery. Also, women who
were born with a deformity or who have suffered a trauma that has affected
the appearance of their breasts are good candidates.
Prior to Surgery
Prior to surgery you and your doctor will have a one on one consultation.
This is the most important step in this process. Your doctor will explain
the different options for you; listen to your needs and concerns and then
make recommendations based on your individual needs. It is important to
be honest with your surgeon about your expectations and goals. Together
you will make the best decisions for you.
Breast reconstruction is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. Sometimes
this surgery can take up to three hours depending on the type of technique
being used. There are several techniques available to women today. The
most common technique is skin expansion. This involves stretching the
skin in the breast area and later inserting an implant. An expander is
inserted under the skin and muscle. Over several weeks the doctor will
expand this implant by filling it with salt water or saline. Once the
skin is stretched to the desired size, the expander is removed, and a
permanent soft implant will take its place. The recovery time using this
technique is the fastest and easiest on the patient.
Another technique is flap reconstruction which uses skin, fat and muscle
from other parts of the body. The most common area for obtaining this
tissue is the abdomen. Recovery time following this procedure can be more
lengthy and painful than the expansion technique, but often can give a
more natural appearance once completed.
Breast reconstruction can restore self-confidence and lead to a better
quality of life. It will enhance your appearance and help make the recovery
of a mastectomy more bearable for many women.
Patients may remain in the hospital for one to four days. You will be required
to wear a surgical drain to remove excess fluids, but the drain is usually
removed in a few weeks. Swelling and tenderness is to be expected. Pain
can be managed with medication supervised by your doctor. Recovery can
be a lengthy process. It can take up to six weeks to return to normal
activities. Your surgeon will review all post-operative instructions with
you before you return home.
Expander removal and permanent implant placement
Flap reconstruction revision
Nipple and areola reconstruction
All patients are unique and needs vary. Options will be discussed with
you during your consultation.
View Breast Reconstruction Before & After Photo Gallery