Breast reconstruction are for woman who are diagnosed with breast cancer and will be undergoing or have undergone a mastectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction means the reconstruction will be performed at the same time as the mastectomy. Delayed breast reconstruction indicates that the patient has already had a mastectomy, possibly years ago, and is now ready to pursue reconstruction. The simplest form of reconstruction is placement of the tissue expander (temporary inflatable implant). The expanders have a port that allows for periodic injection of water to fully stretch the mastectomy skin until it reaches the desired size. The tissue expander is maintained in place for at least 3 months. A second operation is performed to remove the tissue expander and replace the expander with a softer, more natural silicone gel breast implant. It is common to lift, reduce, or place an implant in the opposite breast to achieve symmetry.
There are other forms of reconstruction using the patient’s own tummy tissue or back tissue which would be better for patients that have a BMI over 35 with more complicated issues such as lack of natural remaining mastectomy tissue or injury from previous radiation therapy.
Depending on the type of reconstruction performed, post-operative instructions will vary. In all cases, a period of downtime should be expected. This could be less than a week in patients with implant based reconstruction, or more than two weeks in patients who undergo tissue based reconstruction. The pain following reconstruction depends on the type of reconstruction performed. A tailored pain control regimen will be in effect after surgery to make the process as comfortable as possible. The reconstruction process usually involves two or three procedures. Dr. Andochick will determine the appropriate interval between procedures.
Reasons for Considering Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that restores the shape of a woman's breasts following complete or partial mastectomy. At the Andochick Center for Cosmetic Surgery we offer a wide variety of breast reconstruction procedures.