Breast reconstruction is a procedure intended for an individual who had a breast removed (“mastectomy”) due to either cancer or any other disease. This technique allows a surgeon to create a new breast that comes close to the form of a natural breast. Typically, this procedure follows immediately after a mastectomy.
A good candidate for breast reconstruction:
During an initial consultation at the Women’s Institute of Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, our female plastic surgeon(s) can determine if breast reconstruction is a procedure for you or if it should be postponed to a later time.
All surgery has risks and uncertainties, some of those risks are:
- Excess bleeding
- Fluid collection
- Excessive scar tissue
- Difficulties with anesthesia
- Infection may develop in the case of an implant being placed
What will happen during a consultation?
In most instances, once you find out you have breast cancer that requires a mastectomy, planning your breast reconstruction can happen immediately. Ideally, your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon will work together in planning your surgery, and develop a strategy that best suits your condition. Before surgery, your doctor will give you a list of instructions (i.e., guides on eating, drinking, and smoking pre-surgery).
While the surgery is being performed, you will be put under a general anesthesia; therefore, you will be asleep during the entire procedure.
During your consultation with our surgeon, the two of you will discuss which type of breast implant is the best choice for you, either silicone gel or saline filled. Saline has a silicone gel shell with a saline (salt water) solution inside of it. Silicone has a silicone shell with a silicone gel fill on the inside. The most common technique for a breast reconstruction (post-mastectomy reconstruction) is skin expansion. This is done by the plastic surgeon placing a balloon expander beneath your skin and chest muscle. Then it is filled with a salt-water solution, which gradually stretches the skin over the breast. Some expanders are used to be left in place as the final implant; others are used to take place before a permanent implant is inserted.
Another technique used during breast reconstruction is a flap technique that uses tissue removed from another part of the body (i.e. abdomen, thighs, or buttock), and then transferred to the breast area by reconnecting the blood vessels to the new ones in that region. From there, an implant may be placed. This technique is a lot more difficult, yet produces the most natural-looking results.
During an initial consultation, our surgeon will decide which method best fits you.
After surgery, expect to feel sore and tired for two to three weeks, and experience discomfort during the healing process. In some cases, you will stay two to five days in a hospital. In about six weeks, most patients are able to resume normal activity, depending on the severity of their case.