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For Patients Looking Into Breast-Reconstruction Surgery

Published on August 24, 2018

Are you interested in learning more about breast-reconstruction surgery? This procedure is used to rebuild or reshape a woman’s breasts. It is most commonly carried out after mastectomy (removal of the whole breast) or lumpectomy (removal of a tumor and some of the surrounding tissue). Mastectomy and lumpectomy are both procedures to treat or prevent cancer.

Types of Breast-Reconstruction Surgery

When breast reconstruction is performed immediately after mastectomy/lumpectomy, it is called immediate reconstruction. If it is done after the cancer treatment has concluded and the mastectomy/lumpectomy has healed, it is called delayed reconstruction.

Breast-reconstruction surgery can broadly be divided into two types:

Implant-Based Reconstruction Surgery: In this type of surgery, silicone or saline breast implants are used to form a new breast shape.

Flap Reconstruction Surgery: In this procedure, the patient’s own tissues from other parts of their body, generally the back or the lower abdomen, are used to create a new breast. Sometimes, this method may also require the inclusion of implants.

A nipple-reconstruction surgery may be carried out if the nipple area has been affected during mastectomy/lumpectomy.

Which Type Is Right for Me?

Numerous factors regulate the kind of breast-reconstruction surgery that is suitable for a patient:

• Her body type. Thin women may not possess the adequate amount of tissue necessary for a skin-flap surgery.
• Her health condition (apart from cancer)
• The location and size of the tumor
• Other cancer treatments involved
• Whether the operation is to be performed or one or both the breasts
• If she is open to more than one surgery in the reconstruction process
• The recovery time she is willing to invest
• The insurance coverage that she has

Good Candidates

Breast-reconstruction surgery is not recommended to people with other pre-existing medical conditions that may weaken them post-surgery or hamper their healing. A good candidate for the surgery will have realistic goals and expectations of how their breasts will look after the surgery. She must be able to cope well with diagnosis and treatment.

A reconstructed breast may aesthetically resemble the former shape, size, and symmetry of the breast removed. However, it will not have the same sensations, which may pose a problem during sexual interactions. The area will be numb to most sensations, including injuries and burns. Also, the reconstruction surgery may leave incision lines on the patient’s body, which she will have to be willing to accept and embrace.

Preparation

Certain measures are recommended before a breast-reconstruction operation is performed:

• Stop smoking for several weeks before the surgery is to be performed.
• Take certain vitamins and other prescribed medication.
• Avoid the use of herbal supplements and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease the risk of excess bleeding.

It will take a minimum of two months for a person to recover from a breast-reconstruction surgery.

Scheduling a Consultation

For more information regarding breast reconstruction, contact our office and arrange a consultation. Doctors Bivik Shah and Robert F. Centeno are skilled board-certified plastic surgeons with years of experience. They will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.