A breast reconstruction is a surgery to attempt to restore a breast to a normal size, shape and appearance following a mastectomy. If only one breast was removed, it’s possible to have the reconstruction on just that breast. In addition, a breast augmentation on the other healthy breast is sometimes recommended to ensure symmetry between the two.
Although the surgery can rebuild your breast, the breast will not have the same sensation as the previous breast, incision lines will always be somewhat visible around the breast, and incision lines from the donor site—such as abdomen, back, or buttocks—may also be visible. It is important to meet with a surgeon early on in your decision process and discuss whether you are a good candidate for this procedure. Be open about the breast surgeries you’ve had in the past and the results you expect from this surgery.
Because of certain types of mastectomies or radiation, there is occasionally insufficient tissue covering the chest wall to support a breast implant. For this reason, either a flap of skin or a type of tissue expansion is usually necessary for a breast reconstruction implant. The flap of muscle, fat and skin can either be from your abdomen or from your back. If you choose the tissue expansion route, the recovery is easier but the process takes longer. It involves having an expander put in your chest where your breast is located and having office visits over a four to six month period to slowly expand the device in your chest, stretching the tissue in preparation for an implant. Once the breast is in place through either method, the nipple and areola will be reconstructed and grafted on the breast.
On the day of your surgery, you will be given anesthesia for your comfort. Depending on the type of reconstruction you choose and how extensive the situation, the surgery will be from one to four hours long. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze afterward and will be swollen, sensitive, and possibly bruised. It may take several weeks for them to feel normal and fully healed, so it’s important that you take this time to rest and not overwork yourself. Keep in regular contact with your surgeon to be sure you are healing normally.
For more information about breast reconstruction, call our office at (702) 671-5110 or schedule your appointment online today.