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What to Know About Breast Reconstruction

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What to Know About Breast Reconstruction

A breast cancer diagnosis is one of the most terrifying diagnosis in a woman’s life. The priority is to eliminate the cancer as much as possible, but if you also need a lumpectomy or mastectomy, you may need to consider breast reconstruction surgery eventually.

Fortunately, many advances have been made in recent years in breast reconstruction procedures. Returning to a normal looking physique is very important for most women after such a devastating diagnosis.  Keep reading to learn more about this plastic surgery procedure.

Several Breast Reconstruction Options

The nature of the surgery you needed to eliminate your breast cancer largely determines the type of breast reconstruction you can have. But remember that you have several options, and your board-certified plastic surgeon will help you make the best choice for your situation.

If you required a lumpectomy for your cancer, which takes out the tumor and a small amount of normal breast tissue, your surgeon might be able to shape the breast so that the area where the cancer was taken out looks normal. He or she may do breast augmentation with a breast lift, in some cases.

If you needed a mastectomy that takes out the entire breast, your surgeon could reconstruct the breast with breast implants or your own fat tissue:

  • Breast implants: Saline or silicone breast implants can be used to reshape and reform the breasts. This procedure reduces your recovery by two or three weeks. However, remember that most women need to have their implants replaced about every 15 years.
  • Flap procedure: This surgery uses your fat and other tissue from your belly to rebuild the breast. This is a complicated breast reconstruction surgery, but the results look and feel more natural. Plus, the results last for life.

The most vital thing to remember with breast reconstruction is you have options, and it’s the job of your surgeon to match you with the surgery that is best for your needs and desired outcome.

You Can Have Surgery Now Or Later

When women undergo a lumpectomy or mastectomy, many want to have breast reconstruction right away, which is understandable. But that’s not required; you can wait months or even years to have your procedure. It’s up to you.

However, there are advantages to having breast reconstruction sooner than later. Your surgeon may be able to do a ‘nipple-sparing mastectomy’ that allows him or her to save your breast skin and nipple. This can make the breast look as natural as possible after reconstruction.

If you wait to have reconstruction, it’s ok, though. You still can achieve excellent results if you use a highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon.

Options Still Available If You Need Radiation Later

Sometimes the patient may still need radiation treatments after her mastectomy or lumpectomy. The radiation might damage your implant or tissue used to rebuild the breast.

However, needing more cancer treatment doesn’t mean you can’t have immediate breast reconstruction. It’s still possible for your surgeon to save your skin and nipple during the mastectomy.

But instead of doing the reconstruction right away, the surgeon may use a tissue expander to keep the breast in the right shape until the reconstruction can be done after radiation.

Breast Reconstruction Is Always Advancing

Technology is constantly evolving and improving, and this is true with breast reconstruction procedures. Over the last few decades, plastic surgeons have developed new methods to make the reconstructed breast look more natural than ever:

  • Advanced microsurgical methods that save muscle during a flap procedure
  • Doing a flap procedure with tissue from other parts of the body, including the inner thigh or buttocks
  • Methods that speed recovery after surgery, which helps you get back to life faster
  • Better breast implants, including those that are safer and less likely to leak

Also, some surgeons can perform mastectomies and breast reconstruction that retains much of the sensation in the breast. Older surgeries sometimes provided a natural-looking result, but much feeling in the breast was lost.

There are methods available today that dissect nerves in the transplanted tissue, which are reconnected as the surgeon rebuilds the breast.

Breast Cancer Surgeons And Plastic Surgeons Often Work Together

Now more than ever, there is more collaboration between breast cancer surgeons and plastic surgeons that can improve reconstruction results. It’s wise to have a skilled plastic surgeon as part of your cancer care team from the start so you can get the best results.

Regular communication between your oncologist and the plastic surgeon provides the best results for your cancer surgery and breast reconstruction.

While making decisions about your cancer and reconstructive surgeries can seem overwhelming, it’s vital to know your options. Please make sure you talk to your medical team and plastic surgeon to learn all your choices and how to time the breast reconstruction to give you ideal results.

Book Your Breast Reconstruction Today

Interested in a Philadelphia breast reconstruction procedure? Dr. Stark will review your options in your free consultation, as well as go over your surgical goals. He’ll decide if you’re a good candidate for a breast reconstruction procedure.

References

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

Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Stark brings decades of experience and training to each consultation. When you meet with Dr. Stark, he takes the time to give you information and options, so you can have confidence in your decision to move forward with the best procedure for you. Confidence. Personalized care. Impeccable results. That’s the Stark Difference. Discover that difference yourself by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Stark today.

135 South Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 220, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010