Breast reconstruction is performed through several plastic surgery techniques that restore the breast to nearly normal shape, appearance, and size following mastectomy.
Dramatic improvements in your self-image, self-confidence, and quality of life are achieved with the creation of a new breast. Breast reconstruction is both a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for women who have lost breast tissue due to cancer or other conditions.
Is Breast Reconstruction Right for Me?
Breast reconstruction is a good option for you if you are able to cope well with your diagnosis and treatment, you do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing, and you have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image.
Breast reconstruction typically involves multiple stages of procedures performed. It can begin at the same time as mastectomy or wait until you heal from mastectomy and recover from any additional cancer treatments.
During your breast reconstruction consultation, you should be prepared to discuss why you want breast reconstructive surgery, your expectations and desired results, the options available in breast reconstruction surgery, the likely outcomes, and any risks or potential complications. Your surgeon will provide you with the course of treatment and procedures to achieve breast symmetry.
Before and After Photos
What Should I Expect After Breast Reconstruction?
Following your surgery, an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breast. A small, thin tube (called a drain) may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.
Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions that may include how to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site, or your general health.
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases and breast shape and position improve. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
What Should I Expect Over Time?
Continuous monitoring of breast health through self-exam, mammography, and other diagnostic techniques is essential to your long-term health.
The final results of breast reconstruction following mastectomy can help lessen the physical and emotional impact of mastectomy.
Over time, sensation may return to the breast, and scar lines will improve, although they’ll never disappear completely.
There are trade-offs with breast reconstruction; however, most women feel these are minimal compared to the large improvement in their quality of life and the ability to look and feel whole.