Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

Breast Reconstruction
Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy is recon­structive plastic surgery to restore the form of a breast following total or partial removal.

A consultation with a plastic surgeon is the first step a woman should take if considering breast reconstruction. You may choose to have a consultation before your mastectomy to learn about the various reconstruction possibilities available to you. The plastic surgeon and your general surgeon often work closely together on those aspects of your mastectomy that influence reconstruction.

During the visit, you should candidly discuss your expectations about looking and feeling better after reconstructive surgery. Post-mastectomy reconstruction can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence. But keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.

After examining you, the surgeon will discuss variables that influence the decisions about the reconstruction. Breast reconstruction may be performed at the time of the mastectomy or after a convalescence of several months.
The plastic surgeon also will explain which reconstructive technique is most appropriate for you, after taking into account your age, the amount and thickness of chest skin following the mastectomy, any tissue changes resulting from radiation therapy and your preferences about the placement of the scars.

After explaining the surgical technique, the surgeon will discuss other details of your case, including the anesthesia, the operation place and what the surgery realistically can accomplish. At the same time as reconstruction it may be desirable to augment or reduce the size of the opposite breast to make the overall result of the surgery as symmetrical as possible. If restoration of the nipple and surrounding dark pink skin or areola is desired, additional surgery can be performed at a later date.

Specific Complications of Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Thousands of women undergo successful breast reconstruction each year. Nevertheless, you should be aware of the potential risks of surgery and specific complications of reconstruc­tion.

Post-mastectomy reconstruction has no effect on whether or not there is a recurrence of disease in the breast. It does not interfere with treatment if it develops anyway. Occasionally a second operation may be necessary to revise scars or soften breasts that become too firm due to excessive scar formation (capsular contrac­ture). Your surgeon will discuss these and other possible complications, as well as their treatments, during your consultation. Risk of complications can be minimum by closely adhering to your surgeon’s advice on follow-up care during the healing process.

Since breast reconstruction after mastectomy is performed to restore a breast that has been lost due to illness, your insurance carrier may cover the surgeon’s fees and other costs partially or fully .

Breast Reconstruction

A post-mastectomy patient shown before reconstructive surgery with a mastectomy scar.

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The skin and underlying muscle in the darker area is lifted up to form a pocket for the implant.

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A cross section of the breast shows the location of the implant underneath the chest muscle.

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An alternate reconstructive approach for the patient requiring additional skin uses a muscle and skin flap taken from the lower

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This flap is tunneled through the upper abdomen to the chest wall, creating adequate breast contour without an implant

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The patient after breast and nipple reconstruction, with resultant scars.

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