About Breast Reconstruction
Women who have had all or part of one or both breasts removed often find reconstruction to be an important part of the healing process. After a mastectomy, reconstruction can help restore a sense of femininity and confidence as well as a sense of feeling “whole” again. Reconstruction can either be performed at the time of mastectomy, or can be delayed until the patient is emotionally ready to move forward with the reconstructive part of the process.
The complexity and duration of your breast reconstruction will be largely determined by how aggressive the mastectomy surgery was. Patients who still have the pectoral muscle intact can typically expect a better aesthetic result than patients who had a radical mastectomy and no longer have the chest muscle. When rebuilding the breast, breast implants form the foundation of the new breast shape, although fat transfer augmentation may be an option for some patients. For some patients, natural tissue may be used for reconstruction as well.
Breast reconstruction includes not only the recreation of a natural breast shape and profile, but also reconstruction of the nipple and areola using skin grafts. In many cases, the opposite breast may require cosmetic procedures in order to ensure symmetry, such as breast reduction or a breast lift. Tissue expanders may be necessary in order to stretch the skin enough to accommodate the desired implant size.
Reconstruction surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and can require a hospital for a day or two. Depending on the extent of reconstruction you will require, more than one surgery may be necessary. In order for your body to properly heal, it’s imperative that you follow Dr. Placik’s recovery instructions and avoid any strenuous activities for 6 weeks. You can expect some soreness and discomfort after surgery, but prescription medications should help make you more comfortable.