To most of us, breasts are synonymous with womanhood. Just like any other part of the body, losing either or both of them may contribute to an unhappy, anxious, and stressful life. Unlike many other parts of the body, the loss of the breasts can lead to a traumatic identity crisis, a common reaction among mastectomy patients. Thus, the struggle can continue even after the ordeal of breast cancer.
For those for whom breasts hold such importance in terms of identity, appearance, and peace of mind, breast reconstruction serves as a viable solution. While reconstructed breasts are never an exact replica of natural breasts, they have served as a satisfactory replacement for many women the world over. Some even consider it a path to recovery rather than merely a separate medical procedure.
How It Works
Every breast reconstruction surgery is specific to the patient’s individual case and is arranged keeping in mind the patient’s preferences and the doctor’s advice. There are two primary types:
• Tissue Flap Procedures: These include extracting tissue from some other part of the patient’s body (i.e. the buttocks, belly, shoulders, or back) and grafting it in place of the removed breast tissue. This is a long-lasting option where an experienced surgeon can minimize the alterations to the contours and the body shape.
• Breast Implants: As the name implies, implants filled with a saline solution or silicone gel are inserted in place of the removed breast tissue in order to restore breast volume. It is preferred by patients who do not wish to undergo surgery on a different part of the body for the tissue that replaces the now-removed breast tissue. These patients may also be subject to medical conditions that prevent tissue-transplant-based surgery.
The Advantages of Breast Reconstruction
• Allows the patient to focus on post-mastectomy and post-surgery recovery
• Provides a sense of wellness to the patient, easing the transition
• Reduces social and emotional issues associated with mastectomy surgery
What One Should Know
Remember that this is not a purely aesthetic cosmetic surgery but a reconstruction of a body part. The process requires preparation and multiple consultations, sessions, and procedures. A separate procedure for nipple reconstruction is also presented as an option once the breasts have regained satisfactory form and shape.
The recovery period and post-surgery treatment may take six to twelve months and will include medications and lifestyle changes. Swelling and bruising are normal and can be controlled with the help of post-surgical garments. With proper care, patients achieve excellent results.
If you’re preparing for mastopexy surgery as a result of a breast cancer diagnosis, you may be interested in learning more about breast reconstruction surgery. Contact us to arrange an informative and helpful consultation with Dr. Lu-Jean Feng, a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience.
Dr. Feng offers expert advice and will walk you through the steps of the procedure. You will be able to ask any questions you may have and can see before-and-after pictures to get a better idea of your potential results.