A woman who has surgery to treat breast cancer may choose to have reconstructive surgery to rebuild the shape and look of her breast. Breast reconstruction may be an option either during or after breast removal, depending on the person’s situation. Breast reconstruction is considered a reconstructive procedure and should be covered by most health insurance plans, although the level of coverage may vary.
Why Consider Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
The idea of living without a breast affects each woman differently, and deciding whether or not to have breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal choice. Women who have undergone cancer treatment involving a mastectomy, or those who have experienced another form of breast trauma or congenital deformity, may choose to have breast reconstruction surgery as a means to renew their self-confidence.
Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. You may be a good candidate for breast reconstruction surgery if you:
Have coped well with your diagnosis and treatment
Do not have additional medical conditions or other illnesses that may impair healing
Have a positive outlook and realistic expectations for restoring your breast and body image
What to Expect
Breast reconstruction is typically performed under general anesthesia. There are a variety of different surgical methods that may be used for the procedure depending on your needs, and Dr. Camp will discuss these options with you during your consultation. They may include:
- Breast Reconstruction With Implants
This technique involves the use of an implant to rebuild the breast. Implant-based breast reconstruction may be possible if the mastectomy or radiation therapy has left sufficient tissue on your chest wall to cover and support a breast implant.
- Autologous (Flap) Reconstruction
If there is insufficient tissue on your chest wall to cover and support a breast implant, or if you choose not to have an implant for personal reasons, a flap technique (autologous reconstruction) may be used. This method involves using skin and fat from your lower abdomen, upper thighs or gluteal region to rebuild the breast.
If you choose, breast reconstruction surgery may also include reconstruction of your nipple and tattooing to define the dark area of skin surrounding your nipple (areola).
Following your breast reconstruction surgery, gauze or bandages will likely be applied to
your incisions. You may be placed in a surgical support bra to minimize swelling and support the reconstructed breasts. Thin, temporary drainage tubes may also be inserted.
Breast reconstruction with implants is often an outpatient procedure, while autologous (flap) reconstruction may require a hospital stay.
You may be tired and sore for a few weeks after your surgery, and getting back to your normal activities can take up to 6 weeks or more.
As the swelling goes down, the shape of your reconstructed breasts should improve. It’s important to remember that the primary goal of breast reconstruction surgery is to give your breasts contour and symmetry under clothing. A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation or feel as the breast it replaces.
To learn more about breast reconstruction surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Camp, call our office at 330-332-7383 or click here.