For women who have recently undergone treatment for breast cancer, breast reconstruction can be an important part of the healing process. Breast reconstruction can help restore one or both breasts to similar size, shape and symmetry after you’ve had a mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast injury.
By using a customized approach, the plastic surgeons at The Natural Result / Center for Aesthetic Artistry help recreate and enhance your new breasts to look and feel as natural as possible.
Good Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
For women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy, breast reconstruction can be performed to:
- Restore natural-looking breast contours
- Create symmetry between a natural breast and a reconstructed breast
- Help a woman to feel “whole” after losing one or both breasts to cancer
Reconstruction can even be done at the time of mastectomy, though many women choose to delay their reconstructive breast surgery until after recovery from cancer treatment.
Your surgeon will work with you as well as your breast surgeon to help you decide when is the right time to pursue breast reconstruction and how it will fit best with your cancer treatment plan.
Request Your Consult
The procedures for breast reconstruction vary from patient to patient, and can often be complex. Simply described, however, a plastic surgeon can reconstruct the breast using implants, the patient’s own tissue, or a combination of the two. The choice of reconstruction technique is based on many factors, from your personal preference to the way your mastectomy was performed.
An individual consultation at our office is critical in understanding your options and making the choices that are best for you. Sometimes, breast reconstruction can include additional procedures on the opposite breast to ensure symmetry, such as a breast lift or a breast reduction.
What to Expect
The surgical approach taken during your breast reconstruction will vary depending on which technique is being used. For example, breast reconstruction performed using implants may require the use of tissue expanders for several weeks before surgery. Alternatively, implants may be immediately inserted during the same procedure as your mastectomy, similar to the process used for cosmetic breast augmentation. In either case, the surgical time is relatively quick.
Tissue-based breast reconstruction, on the other hand, is a more complicated procedure, as this requires transplanting tissue from one area of your body (usually the tummy, but sometimes the upper back) and using that tissue to recreate the breast mound. Sometimes, this is done in combination with breast implants for a very natural look and feel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be any pain after my breast reconstruction?Like most surgical procedures, you can expect some discomfort following your surgery. Common post-operative symptoms include sharp pains and burning sensations in the chest area. To help keep you comfortable while you heal, your surgeon may prescribe pain medication. However, many of our patients note that their discomfort was mild and only needed pain meds for the first few days.
What are the common risks associated with breast reconstruction?Breast reconstruction is a relatively safe surgical procedure. However, there are some risks involved as with any surgery. The most common complications related to breast reconstruction include infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, excessive bleeding or issues with the skin around the incision such as necrosis. If you are noticing any of these signs or are concerned about your recovery and healing, we encourage you to call our office.
How should I prepare for my breast reconstruction?Before your breast reconstruction surgery, we will go over what you can expect before, during and after surgery and provide instructions to help you prepare for your surgery.
The instructions you will receive will be much more in-depth and focused on your specific treatment plan. However, these general guidelines will give you a good idea of where to start.
- Quit smoking
- Complete all medical testing and evaluations to get the go-ahead for surgery
- Stop taking or significantly reduce the intake of blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories as these can promote excessive bleeding.
- Prepare your recovery space in your home to reduce moving around too much for the first few days.
- Make sure you have a trusted friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and help you during the first few days of recovery.
Recovery & Results
Like the surgical time, your recovery experience will vary depending on which surgical technique was used during your procedure. Tissue-based reconstruction can be lengthier, as the body needs to heal from the tissue donation process as well as the reconstructive surgery.