Surgeons perform breast reconstruction after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. The process can take more than one surgery. Several techniques can achieve breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction can happen immediately after or months later after breast cancer surgery. Surgery can reconstruct one breast. Your surgeon can also reshape and replace one breast to match the other. You can also have various surgeries over different stages.
Some individuals prefer having reconstruction surgery after mastectomy, but many do not. Having breast reconstruction surgery is a personal decision.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction techniques are different and many. Your doctor can talk to you about the options that could work for you. It is also in your best interest to do your thorough research.
There are two main breast reconstruction techniques:
Flap reconstruction - Your surgeon forms a breast using tissue from your own body. Usually, the tissue comes from the lower abdomen. Your doctor can also get tissue from your bottom, back, or thigh.
Implant reconstruction - Surgeons recreate breast implants using silicone or saline implants.
Your plastic surgeon should explain the potential risks of your specific procedure. You may need to sign consent forms before undergoing surgery.
Breast reconstruction does not lessen your chances of breast cancer recurrence. The potential risks of breast reconstruction are infection, bleeding, or anesthesia risks. You can also experience poor incision healing. It is also ideal to know that:
- Breast implants can have systemic symptoms known as breast implant illness (BII). You can experience rash, brain fog, muscle, or joint pain.
- Textured implants can cause anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
- Breast implants carry the risk of rupturing or capsular contracture.
- Flap surgery can cause loss of sensation at the reconstruction and donor site. You also risk losing the flap.
How to Prepare for Surgery
While preparing for your breast reconstruction surgery, you may have a medical evaluation. Your medical history is essential. You should state whether you have any medical conditions before undergoing the surgery. Your doctor can ask you to stop taking some medication, or you may need to adjust them. You may also need to stop smoking.
Your surgery may include a stay at the hospital or need general anesthesia. Follow-up procedures are necessary. Your surgeon can use local anesthesia for sedation purposes.
What to Expect From Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction lessens the emotional and physical impact of lumpectomy or mastectomy. Your skin sensation may come back over time. Your scar lines will not disappear but can improve in appearance. Your quality of life is likely to improve from feeling good about how you look.
You should check the health of your breasts by doing self-examinations. Use various techniques to diagnose your breast health. If you experience unusual heartbeats or shortness of breath, seek help. Should you have any of the mentioned complications, you may need more treatment.
The practice of surgery can sometimes give unexpected outcomes. Some situations do not have a guarantee. You may not get optimal results with one procedure. Your doctor can recommend more surgeries.
For more about breast reconstruction, visit Texas Plastic Surgery at our office in San Antonio, Texas. You can also call 210.981.4490 today to book an appointment.