Breast reconstruction helps to restore the natural shape and symmetry of the breasts following either a mastectomy (total removal of the breast or breasts) or a lumpectomy (partial removal) as part of treatment for breast cancer. Some women have questions about breast reconstruction and we have answered a few common ones below.
What type of breast reconstruction is best for me?
Breast reconstruction is a totally personal decision, depending on the woman’s health, desired outcome, finances, and length of time she can take off to recover. Fortunately, there are many breast reconstruction techniques available to women today within implant-based and flap (autologous) based reconstruction.
The implant-based reconstruction uses the same saline or silicone implants used in a breast augmentation to replace the breast. Flap-based reconstruction uses a combination of the patient’s own tissue, skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels from another part of the body to reconstruct the breast. A few subcategories of autologous reconstruction are DIEP flap, latissimus dorsi flap, and TRAM flap, all of which are offered at Atlanta Plastic Surgery.
What do breasts feel like after reconstruction?
A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation or feeling as a natural breast. However, breast resensation may be able to restore feeling in the nipple during immediate or delayed reconstruction. During this procedure, the surgeon uses a nerve from another part of the patient’s body to reconnect the chest wall with the nipple. Over time, the nerve may regenerate and restore feeling to the nipple.
How should I prepare for breast reconstruction surgery?
It is important to plan ahead. Be sure to choose a comfortable area at home that you can get plenty of rest with no distractions. Get your medications, groceries, and other necessities you may need ahead of time as you will be resting quite a bit after your surgery. Although your surgeon will review pre and post-surgery recommendations with you, your oncologist, or other doctors, there are a few other things to consider.
These things include:
· Discontinue aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamins that can cause bleeding.
· Adjust any other medications according to your regular doctor and surgeon’s pre-operative instructions.
· Stop smoking at least six weeks before and after the surgery.
· Get any laboratory tests done as prescribed by your surgeon and other doctors.
· Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions.
Will I need more than one breast reconstruction surgery?
Each woman’s journey with breast reconstruction is different and based on many factors such as the type of reconstruction that is chosen. This is why it is difficult to say whether a woman will only need one or more surgeries. In many cases, most women will need more than one breast reconstructive surgery to allow time for healing and to complete the entire reconstructive process. All of these questions will be discussed in detail during your consultation.
For more information on breast reconstruction and the other plastic surgery procedures we perform or to schedule a consultation appointment today, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery at one of our Atlanta, Canton, Midtown, Northside/Sandy Springs, and Cumming/Forsyth area locations. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional plastic surgery tips, news, photos, and much more.