Breast Reconstruction Surgery restores one or both breasts shape, appearance and size after a mastectomy or lumpectomy.
The surgery is often performed at the same time as the mastectomy or at a later date. Timing will depend on several factors including:
· Surgical Risk Factors (such as smoking)
· Physical Examination
· Treatments you will need after the surgery
There are surgical risks such as delayed wound healing, infection, reconstruction failure and problems with implant or procedures that may occur if you smoke or are overweight. You can lower these risks by quitting smoking or losing weight before breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Options
If you have made the decision to have breast reconstruction surgery, there are several breast reconstruction options to consider:
- Using natural tissues from your body known as a Tissue Flap procedure (TRAM flap, the most common for tissue reconstruction);
- Using tissue expanders, a temporary device placed on the chest wall creating a soft pocket to contain the permanent implant;
- Using silicone or saline breast implants at time of mastectomy;
- A combination of the above procedures
There are advantages and disadvantages of all procedures.
Results from breast reconstruction surgery can vary from patient to patient. Visible incision lines and variance in the feel of the affected breast(s) are typical for breast reconstruction patients.
If only one breast is reconstructed, you may need a breast lift, augmentation or reduction of the opposite breast for symmetry.
Following your breast reconstruction, gauze or bandages will be applied to your incisions. A support bra will assist in reducing swelling and support. If necessary, a thin tube may be placed under the skin to drain excess fluid temporarily.
Healing will take place over several weeks. The swelling will go down over time as the breast shape and position improve.
You will receive instructions from your surgeon that will aid in your healing. Follow-up visits are needed to continue care and keep your healing process on track.
*Your insurance plan should cover Breast Reconstruction procedure cost. Contact your provider for more information.
To learn more information about Breast Reconstruction surgery, watch the video below.