Breast reconstruction surgery can be necessary for several reasons. For those who have received a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is an option. For others, it may be necessary if they wish to even out asymmetrical breasts that are significantly different in size.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Although it depends on the circumstances of the patient, there are generally two kinds of breast reconstruction: implant or flap. Implant reconstruction uses breast implants to form a new breast mound. Flap reconstruction creates a new breast out of the patient’s own tissue and from other parts of the body.
Your Breast Reconstruction Consultation
Before breast reconstruction surgery, it is important to have a consultation with your plastic surgeon. During your consultation, expect to discuss your surgical goals, any medical conditions, allergies you may have, and previous surgeries. Your surgeon will also take this time to learn about your general health, and examine your breasts pre-reconstruction.
They will also take photographs of your breasts, and help you decide on the best course of treatment, as well as what kind of reconstruction is best for you and your body. You may be asked to complete lab testing and a medical evaluation, as well as asked to stop talking all anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease bleeding during the procedure.
Before the procedure, you will be administered either intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Your doctor will generally decide which option is right for you. After anesthesia has been administered, your doctor will determine which flap technique will be used to reconstruct the breast. When using breast implants during reconstruction, a flap technique or some form of tissue expansion is usually required.
One such technique is a Tram flap, which uses muscle, skin, and fat from the abdomen to create the reconstructed breast. This flap can be attached to the original blood supply, as well as completely detached. The flap can be formed into the reconstructed breast. Other techniques include the SGAP or DIEP flap, which will not use muscle, but instead tissues from the buttocks or the abdomen. Breast reconstruction can include the use of breast implants, as an addition to the flap techniques. Using grafting, your doctor will create a nipple and areola for the new breast.
After reconstruction surgery, the site of the procedure will be wrapped in elastic bandages, or a support bra. These help the likelihood of swelling, as well as support the newly constructed breast. To drain any fluids, a small tube could be placed under the skin, but it is only temporary. Depending on the amount of pain you may be in, a pain pump will be given to you. Recovery can take several weeks, and depends on how quickly swelling goes down. As you recover, both breast shape and position should improve, with full results becoming clear after a few months.
The decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery can be critical to feeling whole inside and out after undergoing a mastectomy. At Laurel Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery, we are ready to be an important part of the process. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule an appointment today!