The breasts are an integral part of being a woman. Losing one or both breasts due to breast cancer or an accident can leave a woman feeling less than whole. This can sap self-confidence and seriously damage a person’s body image.
Breast reconstruction rebuilds the breasts, returning confidence and self-assurance. Plus, it makes a woman feel better in her clothes and out in public. Dr. Trovato is very experienced in breast reconstruction.
Who are good candidates for breast reconstruction?
Usually, women who have undergone a mastectomy or who have missing breasts due to an abnormality or an accident will benefit from breast reconstruction surgery. The best candidates don’t smoke and are close to their ideal weight.
How is breast reconstruction surgery done?
Breast reconstruction usually requires multiple sessions. Initially, the breast mound is created, which may be done during or after a mastectomy. This process is performed under general anesthesia in the hospital. There are different methods used in reconstructing the breasts. You will discuss these options with Dr. Trovato during your consultation.
The most common method used in breast reconstruction is skin expansion combined with implant insertion. This is done by placing a balloon expander beneath both the skin and muscle of the breast where reconstruction is to be done. Once the expander has been inserted, saline solution is injected through a tiny valve placed under the skin over the next few weeks. While the expander is filled, the skin stretches to adjust to the new breast. Dr. Trovato, after consulting with you, may choose to leave the expander in place or to have it replaced with a permanent breast implant. The final phase of the procedure involves reconstructing the areola and nipple.
Another approach to breast reconstruction is the creation of a flap using skin tissue from other areas of the body. If the flap is not large enough to create a new breast, an implant may be placed beneath it. The use of the skin flap makes the newly-reconstructed breast appear and feel more natural. It also eliminates the risks that come with silicone implants. However, this technique can create more scarring and requires a longer recovery period.
What can I expect during recovery from a breast reconstruction procedure?
For one to two weeks after breast reconstruction surgery, it is normal to feel tired and sore. It may take up to six weeks to fully recover from the procedure. Stitches are usually removed in a week to 10 days. It’s also likely that surgical drains will be in place to keep fluid from building up. These will be removed in one to two weeks. Normally, the patient will feel numbness in the reconstructed breast after the surgery, yet this will fade over time. Scars will not disappear but will improve as time passes.
What are the risks involved in a breast reconstruction procedure?
Aside from the common complications involved in any surgical procedure, breast reconstruction carries with it the risk of infection around the implant and capsular contracture, where the scar tissue surrounding the implant tightens.