What is Breast Reconstruction?
Losing a breast to breast cancer is a terrible experience for any women to endure. Fortunately, today there are many options available to women who desire to reconstruct their breast, and most women are good candidates to undergo breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction surgery is focused on restoring one or both breasts to their normal shape, size, and symmetry following a mastectomy.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Not every woman facing a mastectomy wants to undergo breast reconstruction, but for many women, it is an important step in their recovery and overall healing. Candidates for breast reconstruction are those who are undergoing a mastectomy or have already had one and wish to reconstruct their breast. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy surgery or it can be done at a later time. It is important to have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to know what all your options are. Then you can be confident that you make a good, informed decision that is right for you.
It is important to know that despite all the medical advances today a reconstructed breast will never look or feel like a natural breast, but it will be close. The process also requires multiple procedures over a significant time period. To be a candidate for breast reconstruction, you must be able to commit to a long-term treatment plan and be able to maintain a positive and realistic outlook during the process.
Breast reconstruction can be accomplished through several different plastic surgery techniques. Many factors, including a woman’s anatomy, medical history, cancer treatment, and the woman’s desired outcomes, play an important part in determining the best procedures. The breast mound can be restored through flap techniques, which use a woman’s own muscle, fat, and skin to create a breast mound. Tissue expansion and placement of breast implants can also be used to restore the breast. For women who were not candidates for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, skin grafting, and other specialized techniques can be used to recreate a nipple and areola. Breast symmetry can also be improved through a breast reduction or lift on the opposite breast.
Following your breast reconstruction surgery, your incisions will be bandaged and you will likely need to wear a support bra to minimize swelling and support your new breast. Your recovery will depend on the techniques used during your procedure, but you can expect to take a couple weeks off work to rest at home. In this time, you might experience some swelling, bruising, and redness. Discomfort will improve over the course of recovery and can be managed with medication. You will also be asked to follow some activity and physical restrictions. All post-op care instructions will be provided to you after your procedure and should be followed closely to ensure proper healing. Dr. Ehrmantraut will be available to answer any questions you might have about your recovery.
Dr. Ehrmantraut feels breast reconstruction is one of the most satisfying surgeries he performs. If you are undergoing a mastectomy and would like to restore your breast with a breast reconstruction procedure, contact our office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.