in Orlando, FL
Restore feminine breasts after a mastectomy
About Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Restore your feminine contours with breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Breast reconstruction recreates natural female breast contours after a woman has had one or both breasts removed. This procedure can re-feminize your figure and provide closure and emotional healing after breast removal due to breast cancer.
Most women who have had a mastectomy or double mastectomy may be candidates for breast reconstruction. Even older women may be candidates for this surgery. Candidates are not currently pregnant and should be generally healthy. Candidates who are currently receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer will need to complete these treatments before getting breast reconstruction. Many candidates will qualify for immediate breast reconstruction (performed immediately following the mastectomy). Others may need to wait to receive a delayed breast reconstruction (performed weeks, months, or even years after the mastectomy) due to cancer treatment and overall well-being.
Breast reconstruction involves the recreation of breast mounds to restore a natural-looking bust. The surgery involves either the use of a tissue flap or breast implants. With a tissue flap reconstruction, extra skin and fat is extracted from the lower abdomen to shape the new breast mound (or mounds). With implant reconstruction, breast implants are inserted to fill the breast area after removal of the breast tissue. Depending on the timing, it may be necessary to use a tissue expander to open the chest area in preparation for the breast implant.
Preparing for Surgery
You should be in good general health and at a stable body weight prior to undergoing this surgery. If you are receiving treatment for breast cancer or for any chronic health conditions, you will need to request clearance from your primary care physician and complete your cancer treatment (if relevant). You will need to get an EKG and basic blood work to evaluate your health in anticipation of a successful procedure and healthy recovery. You will also need to plan for adequate time off work and arrange for assistance during your recovery, especially for activities such as driving, household responsibilities, and childcare.
Recovery After Surgery
Most patients can expect several weeks of downtime after breast reconstruction. Soreness, swelling, bruising, and numbness are common during recovery. A support bra or bandage will be provided for you to wear to support the reconstructed breast(s) while healing. It may take 4 to 8 weeks to be able to resume most normal daily activities. During recovery, you will need to limit your work responsibilities and seek assistance for basic household responsibilities and childcare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing to get breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is a deeply personal decision. You can choose to get reconstruction, or don’t and wear external breast pads, or do nothing at all. Bear in mind that this procedure is considered a part of your treatment for breast cancer and should be covered by your health insurance (per federal law). Plastic surgery techniques now offer better results than ever before for breast reconstruction. For women who have endured a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, breast reconstruction can also provide emotional healing and closure.
Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after the mastectomy procedure or delayed to a future date.
- Immediate reconstruction: Dr. Poris and your mastectomy surgeon will work together to perform both the removal and reconstruction surgeries in one session. This option reduces the number of individual procedures (and subsequent recoveries) and can preserve more of the original breast skin to reduce scarring.
- Delayed reconstruction: Dr. Poris can perform breast reconstruction months or even years after your mastectomy. This may be necessary considering your cancer treatment, other medical issues, and personal preference. If you have a delayed reconstruction with implants, the procedure may need to be performed in two parts: an initial surgery to insert tissue expanders to make space for the implants, and a second surgery to insert the implants.
In most cases, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, federal law requires health insurance companies to cover breast reconstruction as a part of your cancer treatment. This includes delayed breast reconstruction.
With tissue flap reconstruction, extra skin and fat is extracted from the lower abdomen to shape a new breast mound (or mounds). The results usually look and feel more natural as compared to implants. This technique is also a great option for women who are interested in tummy tuck surgery, as the harvest tissue is extracted from the lower abdomen and will noticeably slim down that area. The recovery after tissue flap breast reconstruction is typically longer than the recovery after implant reconstruction.
With implant reconstruction, breast implants are inserted to fill the breast area after removal of the breast tissue. Direct-to-implant reconstruction may be performed immediately following the mastectomy, providing results with just one operation and recovery. With delayed reconstruction, the procedure may need to be performed in two parts: an initial procedure to insert tissue expanders to make space for the implants, and a second surgery to insert the implants. The recovery after breast reconstruction with implants is typically shorter than the recovery after tissue flap reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction will leave scars somewhere on or beneath the breasts. Patients who get a tissue flap reconstruction will also have scarring at the location from which the tissue was harvested. Your scar’s appearance and length will depend on the surgical techniques used as well as your body’s natural healing process. Most breast reconstruction scars fade significantly over time.