Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure for women who’ve survived breast cancer but lost part or all of one or both breasts. The surgery can be a positive change after a breast cancer treatment that included a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Performed by a top plastic surgeon, breast reconstruction restores the look and shape of your missing breast(s).
Breast cancer is a deadly disease that afflicts one in every eight American women. The most recommended breast cancer treatment is a mastectomy, which removes all the tissue from your breast. The procedure prevents the cancer’s spread, but the results of the surgery — the loss of your breast — can be devastating. Reconstructive breast surgery after cancer helps you heal, physically and emotionally, from the trauma of cancer.
Breast reconstruction after cancer is an intensely personal journey, at times complex and overwhelming. Visit Rowe Plastic Surgery for a caring, supportive environment. By allowing you to be a partner in the decision-making process, the staff guides you in your path to wholeness, whether you’re newly diagnosed with cancer or you had surgery many years ago, whether you’re considering preventative surgery or needing surgery to address an urgent problem. Because of decades of strong advocacy, health insurance covers all of these procedures.
Breast reconstruction surgery helps women who’ve been through cancer treatments or lost a breast for another reason. The surgery makes it possible for you to fit into your clothes, regain your shape, stop using a prosthesis in your bra and generally get a boost of self-confidence. Some factors that make you a suitable candidate for a breast reconstruction procedure include:
When you come in for a consultation, your breast surgeon carries out a thorough examination to qualify you as a candidate for breast reconstruction. The goal is to determine how the procedure may interfere with future medical treatments. The doctor also needs to establish that your body can cope with surgery at this stage. Sometimes, it’s best to wait before having this procedure.
The timing of your breast reconstruction surgery depends on several factors. An immediate breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer happens immediately (during the same surgery) after the removal of your breast. With a delayed breast reconstruction, you can wait months or years after your breast cancer surgery for the reconstruction procedure. Issues regarding the immediate breast reconstruction vs. delayed reconstruction debate include:
Before deciding to get immediate or delayed surgery, you need to be evaluated by your plastic surgeon. Your doctor discusses the ramifications of each reconstruction method with you during your consultation.
A top NYC plastic surgeon has several breast cancer reconstruction options to choose from. The technique your doctor uses depends on both your diagnosis and prognosis. The two most common breast reconstruction techniques are:
The compassionate surgeon at Rowe Plastic Surgery selects the most appropriate option after a careful assessment of your body and your situation. Some of the factors that determine the best breast reconstruction surgery for you include:
During your initial consultation, your NYC breast surgeon discusses the two techniques and your expectations. The doctor explains how your breast tissue, overall health and other factors affect which breast reconstruction technique to recommend.
This form of reconstruction uses your body’s own tissue to recreate your breast in a procedure called autologous reconstruction. There are no artificial materials or implants in your body after surgery. A top plastic and reconstructive surgeon takes tissue from different sites, depending on what works best for you and your body. This autologous tissue most often comes from your abdomen, which is similar to your breast tissue. There are several flap surgery techniques for breast reconstruction, including:
Flap breast reconstruction is more extensive than implant based reconstruction because it involved two surgical sites: your breast(s) and the site where the tissue is harvested from. Your breast doctor chooses the best variation of flap surgery to fit your needs and your body.
An alternative or adjunct to flap surgery is a fat grafting breast reconstruction. Fat grafting uses your own fat, removed with liposuction from another area, to create a more natural appearance for your upper breast. This is not a procedure that can be used to reconstruct the entire breast but can potentially increase the volume of either an implant-based or flap-based reconstruction, especially in the upper breast.
Another option for breast cancer reconstruction is the use of implants, instead of your own autologous tissue. This surgery is typically done in two stages. The first stage occurs at the time of your mastectomy, when the surgeon inserts a tissue expander, a temporary implant that creates a pocket either below or above your chest muscle for the breast implant. The second stage involves exchanging the tissue expander for a more permanent implant. This typically is a short, outpatient procedure that can be combined with a symmetrizing breast lift or a reduction on the opposite side.
Breast reconstruction with implants replicates your breast mound, restoring your figure. While this is a much simpler surgery, keep in mind that breast implants have a 10-15 year lifespan and will need to be exchanged at that time.
Breast implant types, each enclosed in a safe silicone shell:
Along with advice from your surgeon, you choose the size of the implant to suit your desires, and if necessary, you can have the opposite breast augmented at the same time to maintain symmetry. Your doctor advises you, based on your unique health situation, to plan for the best outcome.
If your breast cancer treatment involved partial mastectomy or a lumpectomy, you didn’t have an extensive surgical procedure, compared to a total mastectomy. In these instances, oncoplastic surgery helps you recover or even augment your breast shape. Your initial breast surgery procedure may not have affected your breasts’ shape that significantly, but you can still benefit from a breast reconstruction. The techniques used in oncoplastic surgery include a:
Oncoplastic surgery improves your breast shape and boosts your self-image after your cancer treatment. If you’re worried about the effects of a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, talk to a surgeon about reconstructing your breast after this breast conservation surgery. The surgeons at Rowe Plastic Surgery in New York City and New Jersey review your case and recommend the most appropriate surgical procedure for you, so you can continue your life with little impact.
When you lose a breast to cancer, you obviously lose the nipple as well, meaning the functionality and sensation are both gone forever. This takes time to get used to. Once you’ve completed the reconstruction stage, your doctor can perform a variety of procedures to create a nipple on your new breast. This can involve a small procedure to create the button of the nipple, potentially combined with tattooing to create a color that’s as natural as possible.
Nipple reconstruction surgery is almost always part of your overall breast reconstruction after mastectomy. This type of reconstruction surgery focuses on the appearance of your nipple. Nipple reconstruction surgery can include:
If you had nipple-sparing mastectomy with implants, you don’t need nipple reconstruction methods. When you talk to a NYC plastic surgeon, you learn everything you need to know about breast reconstruction. For instance, single and double mastectomy breast reconstruction surgery differs because of the amount of tissue that’s required. The goal is always to restore your figure for physical and emotional wellness.
Breast reconstruction surgery varies from one patient to another. Your procedure can take from one to six hours, depending on the extent of corrective work required. Your breast reconstruction procedure follows a set of general steps, which include:
The best cosmetic surgeons in New York City use a multi-dimensional approach to breast reconstruction surgery. To achieve the desired results from your breast reconstruction, your surgeon carries out the procedures in stages. You may require several surgeries on separate dates, with healing time in between.
By then, you should know what to expect. During your recovery process:
The doctor provides instructions on bandage care, bathing and taking care of the wound. Follow these instructions carefully for the best healing experience. Avoid any activity that strains your sutures. Avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous activities once you leave the hospital. The staff at Rowe Plastic Surgery is available 24 hours a day during your recovery to answer any questions or concerns.
With breast reconstruction, you restore one or both breasts that you lost to breast cancer treatment. Your new breasts not only boost your self-esteem, but they reaffirm your femininity. To enjoy the life-changing benefits of breast reconstruction, contact the NYC plastic surgery team at Rowe Plastic Surgery.
With breast reconstruction, you restore one or both breasts that you lost to breast cancer treatment. Your new breasts not only boost your self-esteem, but they reaffirm your femininity. To enjoy the life-changing benefits of breast reconstruction, contact the plastic surgery team at Rowe Plastic Surgery. They have offices in Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey and the Hamptons.212-628-7300