What to Know About Breast Reconstruction

When most women think about changing their breasts, they might think of a breast reduction or  breast lift. But some women need breast reconstruction after having cancer.

Breast cancer is a serious concern, and it often requires a lumpectomy or mastectomy to rid the body of it. Many women then need to consider breast reconstruction to make their bodies look the way they did before the cancer.

Today, the good news is that many technological and surgical advances have been made in the last 20 years with breast reconstruction. It’s more possible than ever to have outstanding breast reconstruction results to return to some normalcy. Below is essential information to know about breast reconstruction before you consider having this procedure.

You Have Several Options

The type of breast reconstruction you have often depends on what your surgeon did to eliminate breast cancer. But always keep in mind that you have options, and your surgeon will work with you to make the best decision.

If you needed a lumpectomy, which removes the cancer and only a tiny amount of breast tissue, it might be possible to reshape your breast without significant surgery. He or she might mold the breast, so the area that was removed isn’t noticeable. Your surgeon might even be able to do breast augmentation and a breast lift in this situation.

However, if you had a mastectomy to remove your breast cancer, there are other options to consider:

  • Silicone or saline breast implants: Implants can be placed in the chest to give you a more feminine shape. Having breast augmentation involves a shorter recovery than a flap procedure (please see below). But keep in mind that you may need to have your implants replaced every 10 or 15 years.
  • Flap procedure: This operation uses fat and other tissue from the abdomen to rebuild your breast. This complex procedure requires more recovery, but the results look and feel more natural than implants. And this procedure lasts the rest of your life.

Have Breast Reconstruction When You Like

When women undergo breast cancer surgery that removes part or all of the breast, many opt for breast reconstruction immediately. But it’s not essential; you can wait to have breast reconstruction. Also, it may be better to wait if you still need radiation or other treatments for your cancer.

But there are valid reasons to have your breast reconstruction as soon as possible after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Your plastic surgeon might be able to spare the nipple and breast skin during a mastectomy if you have reconstruction immediately. This will make your final breast surgery result look as natural as possible.

However, you can wait for a period of time to have breast reconstruction and still enjoy great results.

You Can Have Breast Reconstruction After Radiation Treatments

Some patients will still need radiation treatments after they have a lumpectomy or mastectomy. It’s possible that the intense radiation can damage your breast implant or natural tissue used to rebuild the breast.

But just because you need more cancer treatments doesn’t mean you have to delay your reconstruction procedure. Your surgeon still might be able to save the nipple and breast skin when you have your mastectomy.

If you wait on the reconstruction, your plastic surgeon may use a tissue expander to keep your breast in the correct shape until you can have reconstruction after your radiation is finished.

Breast Reconstruction Is Improving All The Time

Breast reconstruction procedures get better and more advanced all the time. Over the last 20 or 30 years, scientists and surgeons have devised new ways to make a reconstructed breast look as natural as possible:

  • Surgeons have developed new microsurgical techniques that save more muscle and tissue during a flap procedure
  • It’s possible to do a flap procedure today with tissue from the buttocks and inner thigh, not just the abdomen
  • There are new methods that allow for a faster recovery after breast reconstruction
  • There are better and safer breast implants that are not nearly as likely to leak, and some implants can last for life

Also, it’s possible to do breast reconstruction today that keeps much of the sensation in the breasts. In the past, breast reconstruction could look natural, but most of the sensation in the tissue was lost.

Now, surgeons can dissect nerves in the transplanted tissues, which can be reconnected as he or she rebuilds your breast.

More Collaboration Between Surgeons

Years ago, breast cancer surgery and breast reconstruction were always separate. But it’s more common today for breast cancer and plastic surgeons to work collaboratively from the beginning, making an optimal result more likely.

It might seem overwhelming to consider breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, but you have more options today than ever. Please discuss with your medical providers and plastic surgeon to learn all of your options. That way, you’ll have the best possible breast reconstruction results.

Request A Breast Reconstruction Consultation Today

Interested in a Las Vegas plastic surgery procedure? Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Rachel Mason today! She will review the options with you, your goals and help determine the best plastic surgery options for your situation.

 

References

Breast Reconstruction With Implants. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/breast-reconstruction-implants/about/pac-20384934

 Breast Reconstruction Overview. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction#

Five Things A Plastic Surgeon Wants You To Know About Breast Reconstruction. (2018). Accessed at https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/cancer-care/5-things-a-plastic-surgeon-wants-you-to-know-about-breast-reconstruction

 Breast Reconstruction. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reconstruction

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