WHAT IS BREAST RECONSTRUCTION?
Breast reconstruction is a procedure used to restore the shape, appearance, and symmetry of the breasts after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. When facing breast cancer surgery, it can be comforting to know that there are different options available. Most reconstructions fall under two categories: implant and flap surgery.
REASONS FOR CONSIDERING BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Breast reconstruction can be completed through a range of different procedures, which will be discussed during your initial consultation. All types have the same common goal, though, to return the breast to near normal shape, appearance, and size prior to the cancer.
If the implant method is chosen, it will be similar to getting a breast augmentation. An implant is the most common type of reconstruction. Silicone or saline implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so the patient may customize their implants and achieve a more natural result. During this procedure, the patient is put under anesthesia, and an incision is made to insert the breast implant. Breast tissue is raised, and a pocket is made under the breast tissue or the muscle.
If the flap method is chosen, the patient’s own tissue will be taken from other areas of the body and placed in the breast. The flap method can help reduce rejection from the body. This procedure takes much longer than the implant method as gathering skin and fat is a delicate and complicated process.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, a specialized surgical bra will need to be worn for several weeks. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with the surgery. This pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given by the physician after surgery.