Breast reconstruction is a surgical operation that shapes your breast. It is a surgical intervention that lifts your breast to treat or prevent breast cancer.
In breast reconstructions, breast implants are filled with silicone gel or brine silicone devices to reshape your breasts.Breast reconstruction with breast implants is a complex operation performed by a plastic surgeon. This process generally require more than one operations.In the preparation of the implant, you can wait a few months (two to three months) after your first surgery to expand and stretch the skin on your chest.
Breast Reconstruction With A Breast Implant Carries The Possibility Of Risk Including:
- Breasts That Do Not Match Each Other By Size Or Appearance (Asymmetry)
- Pain in the Breast
- Implant Deflation
- The healing process of cuts (lacerations)
- Increased Breast Surgery Risk To Change Or Remove Breast Implants
- Changes in Breast Feeling
- Infection Risk
- Probability of Bleeding
- Risks Related to Anesthesia
How to Prepare?
Before the operation, your doctor may suggest that you see a plastic surgeon. Consult an experienced plastic surgeon in breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Your thoracic surgeon and plastic surgeon should work together to develop the best surgical treatment and breast reconstruction strategy in your case. Your plastic surgeon will define your operation options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of implant-based reconstruction. He/she can show you photos of women with different breast reconstruction. It is your body type, health condition and cancer treatment factor that reconstruction will work best.
Plastic surgeon gives information about the anesthesia, location of the operation and what kind of follow-up may be required. Your plastic surgeon can discuss the pros and cons of surgery on your chest, even if it is healthy, in this case it more closely matches the shape and size of your reconstructed chest. Surgery to lift your healthy chest can double the risk of surgery, such as bleeding and infection. Also, you may be less satisfied with the cosmetic results after the operation. Before surgery, follow your doctor's specific instructions for preparation. These may include guidelines for eating and drinking, adjusting existing medicines, and giving up smoking.
What can you expect?
Breast reconstruction begins with the placement of the breast implant or tissue expander during a mastectomy or during a later procedure. Breast reconstruction usually requires more than one surgery, even if you choose reconstruction immediately.
The breast implant is a round or teardrop-shaped silicone shell filled with brine or silicone gel. Once restricted for safety concerns, silicone gel implants are now considered safe. The plastic surgeon places the implant behind or in front of the muscle in your breast. Implants placed in front of the muscle are held in place using a special tissue called acellular dermal matrix. Some women may insert a permanent breast implant during a mastectomy. However, many women need a two-step process using tissue expanders before permanent implants are placed.
Tissue expanding is a condition that stretches your remaining chest skin and soft tissues to make place for the breast implant. Your surgeon places a balloon-like tissue extender under or above your chest muscle during the operation. For several months, your doctor or nurse uses a needle to gradually fill the balloon by injecting saline into the valve through a small valve under your skin. This gradual time allows the skin to stretch in this process. It is necessary to go to a doctor every two weeks to inject saline. As the implant expands, you may experience some discomfort or pressure.
A newer type of tissue expander uses carbon dioxide. This remote extender can release gas from an internal reservoir. Compared with the expansion using saline, the gradual expansion using carbon dioxide can reduce the amount of discomfort you feel. Immediately after the tissue has expanded enough, your surgeon may perform a second surgery to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a permanent implant placed in the same place as the tissue expander.
You may be tired and painful for a few weeks after the operation. Your doctor will prescribe medications to help control your pain. It may take up to six weeks or more to return to normal activities. It is necessary to be calm and patient during this period. Your surgeon will notify you of restrictions on your activities, such as lifting from above or avoiding strenuous physical activities. It may take a long time to return from the operation, it may take up to a year or two to feel fully healed. In general, you can follow your plastic surgeon annually to monitor your chest after the restructuring is complete. However, if you have any concerns about your reconstruction, you should definitely contact your doctor.
Breast reconstruction is a condition that requires restructuring your nipple, including tattooing, to define the dark area of the skin surrounding your nipple.
Future Breast Cancer Screening
If you have a reconstructed breast, you may need to regularly screen for mammography on your other breast. There is no need for mammography in reconstructed breasts. Do not forget to perform a breast exam on your natural breast and on the skin and around your reconstructed breast. This will help you recognize changes in your breast after surgery so you can be alert to new changes and report them to your doctor.
What Does Breast Reconstruction Provide You:
- With a more beautiful appearance, you will have a chest circumference.
- By providing symmetry on your chest, you will make your clothes and swimsuits look better.
- It helps you to prevent the need for external prosthesis in your bra and to be more comfortable.
- You will improve your self-esteem, self-confidence and body image.
- You prevent physical reminders of your illness.
- Requires additional surgery to correct and improve reconstructive problems.
Keep your expectations realistic while estimating the outcome of your operation. Breast reconstruction surgery provides many benefits, but it does not cause you to look or feel the way you did before the mastectomy.