Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that can be sued to rebuild one or both breasts. The primary objective of the treatment is to restore the appearance, shape, and size of breasts following a mastectomy. However, the procedure does not need to be performed immediately after a mastectomy. It can be done several months or even years later.

Although it depends on the patient as to whether she wants to undergo the procedure right after mastectomy or at a later date, a few factors need to be weighed before making a decision, such as the type of mastectomy and the overall physical health of the patient involved.

The patients who don’t require radiation therapy following a mastectomy can opt for an immediate breast reconstruction surgery, and in such cases, the patients don’t require additional pre-operative care. Those who need to undergo follow-up radiation therapies as part of their treatment plan are advised to delay the breast reconstruction procedure for best results.

The patients, however, can get tissue expanders placed at the time of mastectomy, which can be later used during their reconstruction surgeries.

Preparing for the Surgery

A thorough medical evaluation needs to be conducted prior to the surgery. The patient needs to follow a medication regimen prescribed by the doctor and abstain from smoking or using anti-inflammatory drugs or any other medications without consulting her doctor.

The Procedure

Breast reconstruction surgery is an inpatient procedure and may require the patient to be admitted in the hospital for a brief period. There are primarily two techniques for breast reconstruction and they are natural tissue, also known as flap reconstruction, and implant reconstruction.

Flap Reconstruction

Natural tissue reconstruction is a surgical technique where tissues from other parts of the body are transplanted. The flap of skin and fat can be taken from any part of the body for the procedure. Natural tissue reconstruction is a relatively longer procedure that may last for a few hours, and a few follow-up procedures may also be required. It produces great results which last for a lifetime. Moreover, as the tissues are taken from the patient’s own body, they readjust to the body’s structural changes.

Implant Reconstruction

Implant reconstruction takes less time than tissue reconstruction and requires a short stay at the hospital. Using this technique, your surgeon will insert a tissue expander under the pectoralis muscle to make room for an implant filled with a saline solution or silicone gel.

The procedure may include nipple or areola reconstruction, which can be performed simultaneously in conjunction with breast reconstruction surgery, or it can be done at a later date. However, if the patient had a nipple-sparing mastectomy where the nipple and surrounding skin are preserved, then a nipple reconstruction may not be required.

Breast reconstruction surgery produces exceptional results in women who want to restore their breasts after going through a mastectomy. It can significantly minimize the impact a mastectomy has on the patient’s physical and emotional well-being.

If you had a bilateral mastectomy, your surgeon can perform reconstruction of both breasts with the reconstruction technique of your choice. The scar lines improve over time after the surgery, and so does breast sensation. Consult with your surgeon to understand all the options and choose the one that will be benefit you the most.

Contact Our Office

If you’re interested in undergoing a breast reconstruction and would like to learn more about the treatment, we can help. Contact our office to schedule an informational consultation with Dr. David Shafer, a double-board-certified plastic surgeon, to begin your breast reconstruction journey today.