Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure to recreate one or both of your breasts after you’ve had a mastectomy or lumpectomy as a breast cancer treatment. Breast reconstruction surgery may involve a single procedure or multiple procedures, especially if you decide to enhance your unaffected breast with a breast augmentation, a breast lift or a breast lift with implants.
A board certified plastic surgeon can rebuild your damaged or removed breast, either immediately after your mastectomy or anytime later in a delayed procedure. The surgery delivers both physical and emotional benefits, such as:
Your surgeon at Rowe Plastic Surgery in New Jersey and New York City manages your expectations while planning the surgery. The seven stages of recovery include:
You must have a firm understanding of how your expectations align with the possibilities of the procedure before your breast reconstruction surgery. Knowing what to expect smooths your recovery period and prepares you to love your results.
At the end of your procedure, your plastic surgeon covers your breast in a surgical dressing, using sticky plastic strips that stay in place. The dressing keeps your breast dry and clean, while allowing the incisions to heal. Immediately after the surgery, you can expect to:
To promote healing, the plastic surgeon may have inserted a tube in your reconstructed breast to drain away excess liquid. To protect your new breast, you need to wear support garments all the time.
While you may be released after you’ve rested for a while after surgery, your surgeon may request a short hospital stay for observation. Your stay in hospital depends on the extent and type of your breast reconstruction, such as:
To minimize the length of your hospital stay, discuss your options with your plastic surgeon to understand the best surgical approach. Remember that your health insurance covers most if not all of your costs.
After you get home, your healing and recovery continues. Your doctors at Rowe Plastic Surgery have a comprehensive aftercare program that promotes faster healing and better results. The quality of care you give to yourself and your breast at this stage influences your results. The pain and swelling continue for several days around your breast. You can expect:
During this period, avoid heavy lifting, excessive bending, strenuous activities and sexual activities. You may experience some emotional issues, since it takes time to adjust to your new look. It’s natural. Arrange for someone to be there with you, which is one of the tips your doctor may suggest during your consultation.
As your breasts heal and the swelling gradually decreases, you may get impatient to see immediate results or to return to your normal life. Be patient. You’ve to follow the aftercare program strictly to get the best results. At this point, you can expect:
After a month, you’re anxious to see the results of your breast reconstruction. Take one day at a time and continue to be patient. If you notice anything unusual, you can reach your doctor through a virtual consultation.
After a month and a half, you feel better and more confident about your breast reconstruction recovery. If you’ve followed the aftercare program properly, your incisions have healed, and you’ve avoided an infection and other complications. Now you can expect to:
You may feel a mixture of emotions, including anxiety and depression, from the changes in your body. Counseling is available to help you get through this phase successfully. The breast reconstruction procedure should give you a sense of triumph from overcoming breast cancer and reclaiming your femininity.
With your breast completely healed, your surgeon can advise you to get nipple reconstruction. The procedure isn’t for everyone, but if you want to crown your new breast with a beautiful nipple, this is the time to do it. The options for nipple reconstruction include:
The second phase of your breast reconstruction fine-tunes the initial results. Your doctor adjusts your breast to make it look better and more natural. Nipple reconstruction also helps enhance the appearance of the breast. The doctor tailors this minor outpatient surgical procedure to suit your needs.
This is the best time to review the results of your breast reconstruction. Up to this stage, you’ve worked extensively with your plastic surgeon. Your breast has changed tremendously and settled in to how it will look going forward. You can expect the scars to fade as you regain some sensation. You’ll also have more emotional control.
If you plan to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy, contact Rowe Plastic Surgery in Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey and the Hamptons before your cancer treatment. The friendly, compassionate surgery team stays with you from the surgery to full recovery.