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Reconstructive Breast Surgery
Following a life-altering mastectomy, breast reconstruction techniques can restore a normal size, shape and appearance to your chest. If you’re considering breast reconstruction, we’d be proud to help you on your journey toward recovery.
Who Should Get Breast Reconstruction?
Most women who have undergone breast cancer surgery are candidates for breast reconstruction. There are several surgical breast reconstruction techniques. The ideal procedure for you will depend on:
- Your current health and medical history
- Your stage of cancer and any ongoing treatments
- Whether or not you smoke
- Your current height-to-weight ratio
- Your cosmetic expectations for surgery
Breast reconstruction is only performed when it will no longer affect treatment. If you require radiation treatments, it may significantly impact the timing, and, in most cases, the type of breast reconstruction recommended. We can work alongside your oncologist to determine the breast reconstruction options available for you.
Not all women choose to undergo breast reconstruction following breast cancer, but many feel their scars are a constant reminder of the past. Breast reconstruction can restore your figure and help you move forward after breast cancer.
What to Expect During Your Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as your mastectomy or at a later date. There are two general types of breast reconstruction: tissue flap breast reconstruction and implant-based breast reconstruction. These methods can be performed alone or combined to achieve your goals. Multiple procedures may be necessary to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
During flap-based breast reconstruction, we harvest tissue from one part of your body (e.g., abdomen, back) and transplant it to your chest to create a new breast. During breast implant reconstruction, we insert a tissue expander, similar to a balloon, at the time of the mastectomy to slowly expand the tissue to prepare it to closely match a normal breast shape. After several months, a silicone breast implant is placed behind the chest muscle.
After Your Breast Reconstruction
Your recovery will vary depending on the type of surgery performed. When you wake up from surgery, it is normal to experience some bruising, swelling and general discomfort. After the mastectomy, most patients are required stay in the hospital overnight. We will provide you with specific aftercare instructions before you leave the hospital.
You will need to wear a special surgical bra for the first few weeks. Prescription pain medication and antibiotics will also be provided to minimize discomfort and your risk of a post-surgical infection. You can gradually begin resuming light physical activity right away, but you should plan on at least of few weeks off from work and one month off before resuming normal routines. Rigorous physical activity should avoided for four to six weeks.
Understanding the Risks of Breast Reconstruction
We will discuss all risks associated with breast reconstruction with you prior to surgery so that you can make an informed decision. It is important to note that all surgical procedures carry the risk of bleeding, infection, poor healing and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Risks specifically associated with reconstruction include partial or complete loss of sensation. Breast implants also carry the risk of implant malfunction or capsular contracture.
Schedule Your Plastic Surgery Consultation in Raleigh
Our plastic surgeons have over 75 years of combined experience in cosmetic plastic surgery. If you’re ready to learn more about breast reconstruction, please contact our office in Raleigh to schedule a consultation. Use the email form to send a question or call (919) 785-0505 and ask to speak with our nurses.