Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.
The creation of a new breast is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure that can dramatically improve the self-image, self-confidence and quality of life for a woman who has lost a breast due to cancer or other condition.
Is Breast Reconstruction Right For Me?
Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Breast reconstruction is a good option if you are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment, you do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing, and you have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image.
It typically involves several procedures performed in multiple stages. It can begin at the same time as mastectomy or be delayed until you heal from mastectomy and recover from any additional cancer treatments.
When you meet with your surgeon, you two will talk about the following:
- Why you want the surgery
- Your expectations and desired outcome
- The options available in breast reconstruction surgery
- The likely outcomes of breast reconstruction
- Any risks or potential complications
- Treatment plan recommended by your plastic surgeon, including procedures to achieve breast symmetry
What Should I Expect Right After Breast Reconstruction?
- Following your surgery gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions.
- An elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast.
- A small, thin tube (called a drain) may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
- A pain pump may also be used to reduce the need for narcotics.
- You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with your surgeon
- Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases and breast shape and position improve.
- Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
What Should I Expect Over Time?
- The final results of breast reconstruction following mastectomy can help lessen the physical and emotional impact of mastectomy.
- Over time, some breast sensation may return, and scar lines will improve, although they’ll never disappear completely.
- There are trade-offs, but most women feel these are small compared to the large improvement in their quality of life and the ability to look and feel whole.
- Careful monitoring of breast health through self-exam, mammography and other diagnostic techniques is essential to your long-term health.
To learn if breast reconstruction is right for you, schedule a complimentary consultation today.