Breast reconstruction includes a variety of procedures performed to restore the form and shape of the breast, following mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery. Factors such as individual anatomy, aesthetic goals and the need for any postsurgical chemotherapy or radiation will determine your options. Discussing your cancer surgery with a plastic surgeon before undergoing mastectomy is crucial, because the proposed cancer removal surgery may significantly affect the choices and the results of any type of breast reconstruction.
When to Consider Breast Reconstruction
- If you think reconstruction will give you a sense of psychological well being or a feeling of “wholeness”
- To help restore your feelings of femininity and confidence in your appearance
- To improve symmetry if only one of your breasts is affected
- To allow you to wear low-cut necklines and normal swimwear
How is a breast reconstruction procedure performed?
The three basic options for breast reconstruction:
- Using breast implants (saline or silicone).
- Reconstructing the breast using your own skin, fat and muscle.
- A combination of these methods.
Most breast reconstruction methods involve several steps. The majority of breast reconstruction procedures are done as outpatient surgery; however, some may require a hospital stay for the initial procedure (especially if it is done in conjunction with the initial mastectomy). Implant or expander insertion may not require extra hospital time if it can be done at the time of the mastectomy. Your plastic surgeon will help you weigh the pros and cons and select the method to benefit you the most.
Implant reconstruction procedures
This is usually a two-or three-step process.
- In the initial procedure, your surgeon inserts a tissue expander beneath the skin and chest muscle, forming a skin-muscle envelope. The tissue expander is a modified saline implant with a valve, allowing more saline to be added after the first surgery. Serial injections of saline through the skin into the valve slowly fill the implant and will subsequently expand your breast mound. During office visits over two to six months, the skin-muscle envelope is slowly stretched until it reaches the size you want for the final implant.
- In the next stage, you will undergo outpatient surgery during which the expander is removed and replaced with a softer breast implant (saline or silicone).
- Sometimes, with saline implants, the expander is kept in place for a longer period, allowing the size of the reconstructed breast to be changed (by increasing or decreasing the amount of saline) without implant removal. With a silicone implant, your breast size cannot be changed without another surgery.
- It is rare for a woman to have an implant (saline or silicone) inserted directly without first having tissue expansion. In this situation, the size of the skin-muscle envelope at the time of mastectomy is large enough to cover the desired final implant.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Only members can leave feedback for listings. Sign In
No reviews yet
Last updated: Dec 28, 2017 5:01 am