Losing a breast to cancer is an extremely important event. Through the latest technological advancements, there are newer and more realistic looking ways to reconstruct a normal-appearing breast after mastectomy through breast reconstruction. Recreating the breast is a critical step for many women in restoring self-confidence and quality of life, more thoroughly treating breast cancer from start to finish.
At The Pennsylvania Centre for Plastic Surgery in Philadelphia and Plymouth Meeting, PA, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Scott A. Brenman specializes in empathetic and respectful breast reconstruction for patients who have lost one or both breasts to cancer.
*Individual results may vary
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a special type of surgical procedure which replaces the breasts of a cancer patient. Breast reconstruction is highly tailored and personalized to the specific patient, thus ensuring that the entire procedure is treated with the respect and care the patient deserves. Breast reconstruction can take on multiple formats, include reconstruction with the patient’s own tissue, or reconstruction via breast implants.
Candidates for Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction has made huge strides, though a breast which has been reconstructed won’t look exactly like the breast which was lost. It’s important for breast reconstruction candidates to be able to understand this and have realistic expectations for the procedure and outcome. Ideal candidates should be in good health and not suffering from any condition which would hinder proper healing and recovery. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or be delayed months or even years after cancer treatments have been completed.
How Does It Work?
Implant reconstruction is one option for patients and does not impact other body regions for the reconstructive surgery. While implant reconstruction with tissue expansion may present a shorter surgical procedure and easier recovery, the process continues into the postoperative period with expansion. An expander will be placed to expand the skin and muscle, and it will be adjusted over four to six months in the office to achieve the volume necessary. In a later stage, an implant will be placed in the operating room and nipple reconstruction will be performed.
Breast implants can be used as an alternative to the above technique, and both saline and silicone implants may be used. The ideal approach will be determined during your consultation with Dr. Brenman.
The final results of your breast reconstruction will be apparent within several months following your surgery. The most important thing you’ll notice is that breast reconstruction will help restore your appearance so you can feel more confident. These results are expected to be long lasting but with the exception of age-related changes the breast may develop some drooping, which may require additional surgery in the future.
Breast reconstruction is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, so it will be necessary to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you, at least the first night following the procedure. This surgery is generally performed under general anesthesia taking approximately 1½ hours in time, with another 1-2 hours spent in the recovery room. You will go home wearing a surgical bra with some padding that you can take off the following day to shower and then replace the surgical bra or something similar to a comfortable sports bra. You can return to work after one to two weeks, and resume physical activity within four to six weeks after treatment.
You will need to return for follow-up appointments over the next six months, particularly if you opt for breast reconstruction with tissue expanders.
Take the First Step
Interested in learning more? Schedule your consultation at The Pennsylvania Centre for Plastic Surgery in Philadelphia, PA. Call (267) 687-2180 or fill out the form on this page to request a consultation.
*Individual results may vary