Breast reconstruction surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery is the rebuilding of a breast in women. It usually involves the use of an autologous tissue or silicone implants to construct a natural-looking breast.
This breast reconstruction procedure requires reforming of a natural-looking areola and nipple. Breast surgeries are also performed using by moving tissues from one part of the body to other parts.
Generally, the overall aesthetic appearance looks to satisfy the woman, but the reconstructed area is mostly numb afterward, which results in loss of sexual sensitivity as well as the ability to react to the pain caused by burns and another type of injuries caused due to accidents.
Decide if you should undergo Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
A woman who undergoes breast cancer treatments may choose to have additional surgery to rebuild the shape and look of her breast. This surgical procedure is known breast reconstruction surgery.
If you are considering undergoing breast reconstructive surgery, it is recommended you discuss it with your plastic surgeon. Only a well-experienced breast reconstruction surgeon will be able to answer all your queries.
This lets the breast surgery experts plan the best and suitable treatment for you, even if you decide to wait and have a breast reconstructive surgery later.
Seek Help and support
Doesn’t matter which option you choose, it’s important to know u can seek advice from an expert cosmetic surgeon or someone who has already undergone breast reconstruction surgery. You can also refer to suggestions, reading material, and advice.
Benefits of breast reconstruction surgery
There are various reasons for a woman to choose breast reconstruction surgery such as:-
- To make your chest look well balanced when you are wearing a bra or swimsuit
- To regain your breast shape permanently.
- To be satisfied and happy with your body and its appearance and how you feel about herself.
Breast reconstruction surgery often leaves scars, but they usually fade over time. Newer techniques also help in reducing the amount of scarring. When you’re wearing a bra, your breasts should look enough in size and shape to let you feel comfortable in all type of clothes.
Even post-mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery can make you feel better and renew your self-confidence. But it is necessary to keep in mind that the reconstructed breast will not be a perfect match or substitute for your natural breast.
If tissue from your tummy, shoulder, or buttocks is used during breast reconstruction, those areas will also look a bit different post surgery. Talk to your surgeon about scars and changes in shape or contour
Undergoing breast reconstruction surgery during or after breast cancer surgery is popular among most women. It is also necessary to know that not all breast reconstructive surgery procedures are a total success, and the result might not meet your expectations.
The cancer surgery and breast reconstruction surgery will leave scars on your breast and any areas where tissue was moved to create the new breast mound, such as the buttocks, tummy, or shoulder areas.
A rebuilt breast will not feel the same as the natural breast.The sites tissue was taken from to rebuild the breast might also lose some sensation. Over time, the skin might become more sensitive, but it won’t feel the same as it did before the surgery.
Breast skin or flaps might not survive post breast reconstructive surgery. This tissue death is called necrosis. If it happens, healing is delayed and more surgery is often needed to fix the problem.
Healing could be affected by previous breast surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. It can also be affected by smoking, diabetes, some medicines, and other factors.
Most breast surgeons might suggest you wait before undergoing breast reconstruction, especially if you smoke or have other health problems. It’s best to quit smoking at least 2 months before breast reconstructive surgery to allow for better healing. You might not be able to undergo breast reconstruction surgery in case you are obese, too thin, or have blood circulation issues.
The breast surgeon might suggest a surgery to reshape your other breast to match the reconstructed breast. This breast lift surgery includes reducing or enlarging its size.
Certain types of breast reconstruction surgery need radiation treatments that can cause problems and lower the chances the rebuilt breast will look and feel as natural as possible after the radiation is given.
You should discuss the best options for you with your surgeon before surgery.Knowing your breast reconstruction options before surgery can help you have more realistic expectations for the outcomes.
Can breast reconstruction help with cancer or make it come back?
Studies show that breast reconstruction does not bring breast cancer come back. If cancer does come back, reconstructed breasts should not cause problems.
If you have a thought about cancer causes due to breast reconstruction surgery procedures such or use of breast implant or flap, you need to know that breast reconstruction surgery does not cause breast cancer. You should not consider this risky when considering a breast reconstruction surgery.
Preparing for Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Your breast surgeon can help you figure out with what to expect from your breast reconstruction surgery and be prepared as much as possible.
You also should have realistic expectations regarding the breast surgery and how your body will look and feel post surgery. You need to understand the benefits and risks involved in various type of breast reconstruction surgery you are having.
Know what to expect
Breast reconstruction surgery can make you feel better about how you look and renew your self-confidence, but keep in mind that the reconstructed breast will not be a perfect match or substitute for your natural breast.
If tissue from your tummy, shoulder, or buttocks will be used, those areas will also look different after surgery. discuss with your surgeon about surgical scars and changes in shape or contour. Ask where they will be, and how they will look and feel after they heal.
Your cosmetic surgeon should explain the details of your surgery, including:
The anesthesia that will be used to put you sleep and not feel pain during the breast surgery
Where will the breast surgery procedure be done?
How long will the surgery take?
Possible complications of surgery?
What to expect post breast surgery?
The plan for follow-up
Cost of breast reconstructive surgery
Most Health insurance policies only cover majority or all of the cost of breast reconstruction surgery.it is not the case if you undergo breast reconstruction surgery after lumpectomy.
Check with your medical insurance policy advisor to make sure you are well covered, and find out what section of the expense you’ll be expected to pay. Also, see if there are any limits on what types of breast reconstruction are covered.
Before surgery, make sure your medical insurance company will not deny breast reconstruction costs either for mastectomy or lumpectomy procedures. Your cosmetic surgeon can help you if your insurance plan wants to deny coverage, so be sure to ask.
It may be time consuming and effort. In the past, health plans have denied coverage for certain reconstruction procedures despite federal laws that require coverage in most cases. They often reverse such decisions on appeal.
Getting ready for surgery
Your breast plastic surgeon should give you clear instructions on how to prepare for breast surgery procedures.
These will probably include:
- Helping with quitting smoking if you’re a smoker
- Medication-related Instructions to take or avoid certain vitamins, medicines, and dietary or herbal supplements for a period of time before your breast reconstruction surgery
- Instructions on eating and drinking before breast surgery
- Make sure you bring along someone to take you home post your breast surgery or your stay in the hospital. You may also need them to stay back and help you out for a few days or longer.
Where your surgery will be done
Breast reconstruction surgery often includes more than one surgical procedure. The first one creates the breast mould. This may be done during mastectomy procedure or later on. It’s usually done at a hospital.
filling expanders or creating areas such as the nipple and areola are needed, they may also be done in the hospital, or they may be done at a clinic. This depends on how many surgical procedures are needed and what your cosmetic surgeon prefers.
What type of anesthesia will be used
The first stage of breast reconstruction surgery is almost always done using general anesthesia. This means you will be under the influence of drugs that make you sleep and not feel pain during the surgery.
Follow-up procedures may only require local anesthesia. The area the doctor is working on will be numbed. A sedative drug may also be used to make you feel relaxed but awake. You might feel slight discomfort.
Be aware of the possible risks
Certain risks stay along with all types of surgery, and breast reconstruction may pose certain unique problems for some women. Your surgeon will go over the possible risks of reconstruction surgery with you. Be sure to ask questions if there’s anything you are concerned about.
What to Expect Post-Breast Reconstruction Surgery
It’s important to have a clear picture of what to expect from breast reconstructive surgery to reconstruct your breast, including the possible risks and side effects. The time consumed by you to recover from breast reconstructive surgery will depend on the type of reconstruction you undergo.
Most women begin to feel much better in a couple of weeks and may return to usual activities in a couple of months. Talk to your breast surgeon about what you can expect. Be sure you take care of your breast surgery sites and follow up with your breast care with regular mammograms and when they are needed depending on the surgery you have had.
Possible risks involved in breast reconstruction surgery
Any type of surgery carries a list of its own risks, and breast reconstruction surgery may also pose certain problems for some women. Even though many of these are not common, it’s important to have a rough idea of the possible risks and side effects associated with breast surgeries.
Some of the risks during or soon after surgery include:
- Anesthesia related problems.
- Excessive bleeding issues
- Occurrence Blood clots
- Fluid accumulation in the breast or the donor site with swelling and pain
- Infection at the part where the breast reconstruction surgery was performed.
- Wound healing issues
- Extreme fatigue
Problems that can occur later on include:
- Dead tissues (necrosis) or part of a tissue flap, skin, or fat
- Changes in the arm on the same side as the reconstructed breast
- issues with a breast implant, such as movement, leakage, rupture, or scar tissue formation.
- Uneven breasts size or shapes
Risks of infections
Infection can come with any surgical procedures, most often in the first few weeks post breast reconstructive surgery. If a breast implant has been placed, it needs to be removed until the infection clears. A new breast implant can be inserted later. If you have a tissue flap, breast surgery may be needed to clean the wound.
Risks of capsular contracture
The most common problem with breast implants is capsular contracture. A scar which can form around the breast implant. As it tightens, it can start to squeeze the implant, making the breast feel hard. Capsular contracture is treatable. Sometimes breast reconstructive surgery can eliminate the scar tissue, or the breast implant can be removed or replaced.
Additional breast surgery-related risks for smokers
Consuming tobacco narrows blood vessels and reduces the supply of nutrients and oxygen to tissues. As with any surgery, smoking can slow down the process of healing.
This can result in visible scars and a longer recovery time. Sometimes these problems are so extreme that a second surgery is needed to fix them. You may be recommended to quit smoking for a few weeks or months before surgery to reduce these risks. This can be hard to do, so ask your surgeon for help.
Recovering from breast reconstruction surgery
You’re likely to have less energy to do your daily activities and feel sore for a week or 2 post implant surgery during breast surgery. You may take longer to recover after a flap procedure which ends up with 2 surgical wounds on your body. Your breast surgery surgeon will prescribe you medicines to help control pain and discomfort.
Depending on the type of breast reconstruction surgery you have, you will most likely be able to go home within a few days post breast surgery.
You will mostly be discharged with one or more drains in place. A drain is a small tube that is inserted into the wound to remove extra fluid from the surgery site while it heals. In most cases, fluid get sucked into a little hollow ball that you may learn how to empty before you leave the hospital.
The surgeon will decide when the drains can be safely removed depending on how much fluid is collecting each day. Follow your surgeon’s instructions on the wound and drain care.
Getting back to normal
Most women get back to daily activities within 6 to 8 weeks post breast surgery. If the breast implants are used during breast lift or any breast surgery without flaps, the recovery time a patient undergoes may be shorter.
Few things to keep in mind:
- Breast Reconstruction surgery fails to restore normal sensitivity of your breast, but some sensitivity may occur over a period of time.
- It may take up to 8 weeks for bruises and swell to go away. Try to remains calm and be patient to see the best final result.
- It may take as long as 1 to 2 years for breast tissues to heal fully and scars to fade away, but the scars may never fade completely.
- Ask your cosmetic surgeon when you can go back to wearing regular bras and type of bra to wear. Sometimes it will depend on the type of breast surgery you undergo.
Follow your breast surgeon’s advice on when to begin stretching exercises and day to day activities, because it’s different according to breast reconstruction surgery types.
Avoid overhead lifting, strenuous sports, and few sexual activities for upto 6 weeks post breast reconstruction surgery. Check with your surgeon for specific guidance.
Talk to your breast surgeon if you need mammograms
Women who have already undergone a partial mastectomy to treat breast cancer generally do not require a routine screening of mammograms on cancer affected side.
There is no enough tissue left after a mastectomy to do a mammogram. Cancer can return to the skin or chest wall on either side, which is more likely to be found during the most physical examination.
It’s only possible for women with reconstructed breasts to get mammograms, Still, if an area of concern is found during a physical exam, a diagnostic mammogram may be done.
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