Following mastectomy, many women choose to undergo breast reconstruction to restore the form and shape of the breast(s). The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is a personal one, and can often restore a sense of well-being or wholeness to patients.
What is Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is an optional surgery that can be done following mastectomy or lumpectomy to restore the look of natural looking breasts. This procedure can improve symmetry of the breasts, helping patients to feel more comfortable and confident in their body.
Ideal candidates for this procedure will be at a healthy weight, with few medical issues. A consultation with Dr. Golosow is needed to help determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, based on the cancer therapies you have undergone and your individual anatomy.
How is it Performed?
There are a variety of techniques that can be used to perform breast reconstruction. These include using breast implants, reconstructing the breast using the patient’s own tissue, or a combination of these methods.
The first step to reconstruction with breast implants includes using a tissue expander to help create an envelope for the breast implant to be placed into. This expansion process commonly takes place over 2-6 months. Once the pocket is created a silicone or saline breast implant can be placed to help create breast mound.
FLAP reconstruction includes using the patient’s own muscle, fat, and skin to create a breast mound. There are multiple different FLAP procedures; A TRAM flap uses donor muscles and tissues from the lower abdomen to reconstruct a breast. The DIEP flap or SIEA flap techniques use only skin and fat, not muscle, from the abdomen. A latissimus dorsi flap uses muscle, fat, and skin from the back that is tunneled to the breast area.
Overall, the breast reconstruction technique used will be determined based on personal preference, individual anatomy, and the surgeon’s recommendation.
Following your breast reconstruction surgery, you may have drains placed to collect any excess fluids. Compression garments will need to be worn to help reduce swelling and ensure correct healing. Soreness, swelling, and bruising may occur, which can be controlled with pain medication. It is important that you follow the post-operative instructions provided to you by Dr. Golosow. Recovery time will vary based on the extent of your surgery and your personal anatomy.
If you are interested in breast reconstruction after mastectomy in the Ft. Myers area, contact our office today! We would be happy to schedule your initial consultation, as well as answer any questions that you may have.