Contemplating Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast Reconstruction surgery is preformed to recreate aesthetically attractive and natural looking breasts immediately or, in some cases, after a mastectomy surgery. This procedure can be done at the same time of the mastectomy. Previously, this option was not available to women with breast cancer, but today the transition is made much easier with the advances in reconstruction. A good candidate for this procedure has one of the following concerns:
- Has had breast cancer in the past or currently has breast cancer
- Previously had mastectomies but did not or could not have reconstructive surgery at that time
- Have had Breast Reconstruction and are not totally satisfied with the results.
Preparing for the Procedure
During your consultation with Dr. Anton and throughout the pre-operative process, you will discuss your desired changes and outcome. Prior to surgery you will be provided with instructions and exercises to help you determine what breast size you are most comfortable with. This is a personal and individualized process for each patient.
About the Procedure
This procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on what is involved. This procedure is done under general anesthesia. The incision site of the mastectomy is commonly used. This area tends to heal extremely well and fade quickly.
Stages of Breast Reconstruction
There are four stages of Breast Reconstruction surgery:
- Expander placement: During the mastectomy surgery an expander will be placed inside of the breast underneath the muscle. At different intervals the expander will be filled until one is satisfied with their breast size.
- Implant Placement: Once the desired breast size is achieved with the expander an implant will be placed underneath the muscle
- Bilateral Nipple/Star Flap: At this stage a nipple is created to recreate the original nipple.
- Areola Tattoo: This is the final stage in the completion of Breast Reconstruction. The Nipple and areola areas are tattoo to create the look of a natural breast.
What to Expect After Surgery
Most patients wake from surgery feeling tired, groggy and just wanting to rest. You will be wrapped in a compression bandage and you may feel some mild to moderate pain that is usually alleviated by prescribed pain medication. Overall, most patients feel their surgery was less painful than anticipated and are able to discontinue pain medication after 4-5 days.
It is typical for breasts to feel tight immediately after surgery; this will gradually subside through the healing process. Most patients are able to return to light sedentary work 4-5 days after surgery. Your activities will be restricted for a full two-week period including no lifting, bending or straining of any kind. You will be advised during your post-operative appointments regarding these restrictions. The healing process varies from patient to patient and activity level is decided upon on an individual basis.