Breast reconstruction surgery is a beacon of hope and a transformative procedure that can restore confidence to individuals who have undergone mastectomy or experienced significant breast tissue loss due to injury or illness. Through various time-tested surgical techniques, breast reconstruction surgery allows women to regain a sense of wholeness and reclaim their femininity. If you have lost a significant amount of breast tissue and want to see a difference in your appearance, breast reconstruction surgery may be right for you!
What is Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery is a surgical treatment performed to rebuild a breast that has either been removed, also known as a mastectomy, or has been significantly damaged. Generally, this type of surgery is prevalent among women diagnosed with breast cancer and who have chosen to undergo a mastectomy as part of their cancer treatment plan or a preventative procedure because of a genetic mutation and strong family history of breast cancer. However, this surgical procedure is also available for women who have experienced significant trauma or injury resulting in losing one or both breasts.
Types of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Thanks to the leading advancements in healthcare, various treatment plans are available for breast reconstructive surgery. It’s important to understand that each patient’s case is unique. Therefore the treatment plan for one patient may be different from the right one for another. Fortunately, at Tampa Palms Plastic Surgery, Dr. Mosiello and his team offer a variety of techniques, including:
Tissue Expansion Breast Reconstruction
Tissue Expansion is one of the more popular methods for restoring the shape and size of the breast following a mastectomy. This approach involves a temporary “spacer” that will gradually stretch the skin and underlying tissue to create a pocket for the permanent breast implant. The process includes the following:
- Placement of the Tissue Expander: A tissue expander is placed beneath the chest muscle and skin during the initial surgery.
- Expansion Phase: The expander is gradually filled with saline solution through the valve over several weeks or months.
- Exchange Surgery: Once the desired size is achieved, a second surgery is performed to remove the expander and replace it with a permanent breast implant.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction
Latissimus Dorsi Flap breast reconstruction is an autologous procedure. This type of breast reconstruction uses muscle, fat, and skin from the back to reconstruct the new breast. This technique is usually used when there isn’t enough tissue available in the chest area and/or when an implant-based reconstruction isn’t possible. The process includes the following:
- Flap Harvesting: The surgery begins with removing a flap of tissue from the latissimus dorsi muscle in the back. The flap and its blood vessels are carefully tunneled to the chest area.
- Creation of a Pocket: A pocket is created in the chest to accommodate the transferred tissue. The flap is then positioned in the pocket, creating the foundation for the reconstructed breast.
- Implant Placement (Optional): In some cases, a tissue expander or an implant may be used with the latissimus dorsi flap to achieve the desired breast size and shape, but that depends on the patient’s needs and desires.
When Can Someone Receive Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Following a mastectomy or severe damage to the breast area, one of the most common questions is how long they must wait before getting breast reconstructive surgery. It can be done immediately after (immediate reconstruction) or later (delayed reconstruction). The timing depends on various factors, including.
- The individual’s overall health
- Cancer treatment plan
- Personal preferences
While immediate reconstruction offers the advantage of returning to your life with your desired appearance as soon as possible with a reconstructed breast, a delayed reconstruction allows for more flexibility. It can allow you more time to consider additional treatments.
Considerations and Risks of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Before undergoing a breast reconstruction surgery, meet with your surgical team to discuss the benefits, risks, and potential complications associated with the procedure. General things that you should take into consideration include:
- Possible complications, such as infection, bleeding, or implant-related issues
- Scarring and changes in breast sensation
- The need for additional surgeries or revisions
- Emotional and psychological aspects of the process
Similar to other cosmetic enhancement procedures, it’s essential to have realistic expectations and understand that breast reconstruction surgery can help restore the appearance of the breast, but it may not perfectly replicate the look or feel of the original breast. At Tampa Palms Plastic Surgery, our team will meet with you and happily discuss your concerns and answer any questions to ensure you feel completely comfortable before undergoing the treatment.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Recovering from this particular procedure is a gradual process that requires patience. The length of recovery varies depending on the patient’s specific needs and the surgical technique being used. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attend all follow-up appointments. During the recovery period, you may experience:
Dr. Mosiello and his team will supply you with a detailed recovery plan with guidance on pain management and the activities you should avoid. You must reach out to friends and loved ones for help with basic tasks during this time to focus on your recovery and avoid complications.
Regain Confidence and Wholeness with Breast Reconstruction Surgery Today
The number one goal at Tampa Palms Plastic Surgery is to provide our patients with the most advanced procedures to ensure they recover and feel whole. Suppose you are one of the many women across the country to have undergone a mastectomy or have had severe damage to the breast area and want to reshape and add volume. In that case, breast reconstruction surgery may be right for you. Schedule a consultation today.