Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction is a procedure that restores the natural appearance of the breast. The procedure is regularly done by women who wish to reconstruct their breast, after a mastectomy for breast cancer.
When is the best time to have breast reconstruction surgery?
Breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as the mastectomy procedure, but some women prefer to delay it until a future date. This is a decision that should be discussed with a board certified plastic surgeon that is experienced with breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast reconstruction procedures
Breast reconstruction surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, and requires an overnight hospital stay.
The breast can be reconstructed using one of several Flap techniques, including the popular TRAM Flap method. Breast reconstruction using breast implants and autologous tissue are other alternatives.
TRAM Flap Technique: With the TRAM Flap technique, the breast is rebuilt using your own fatty tissue, skin, and muscle, taken from the lower abdomen.
Breast Implants: Breast restoration with implants is a procedure in which an implant is used to remake the breast. The implant is placed below the remaining skin and chest muscle.
The nipple and areola is reconstructed at a later date, using skin from another part of the body.
Patients are often very weak and sore after breast reconstruction surgery. The breast will be bandaged, and drain tubes inserted beneath the skin. Arm movement is usually difficult in the first few weeks, but most patients are able to return to normal activities after about 6 weeks. However, rigorous activity should still be avoided for another 3-4 weeks.
Patients should discuss the pros and cons of the various breast reconstruction techniques with their plastic surgeon, and then choose the procedure that is likely to give them the most natural results.