When the public thinks of breast augmentation, they likely think of patients who want to have the procedure so they can enjoy a larger size and shape to the breasts as well as an enhanced contour. However, there are times when breast augmentation surgery needs to be performed for reasons that go beyond wanting to have bigger breasts. Cancer patients often have a mastectomy performed so they can enjoy better overall health but it often leaves them feeling like something is missing or they don’t feel like a “whole person.” The article below discusses how breast reconstruction plays a large role in giving patients a sense of normalcy about their appearance following a mastectomy.
Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy – What is it and how is it Performed?
Breast reconstruction surgery is performed in order to restore the breast after it has been damaged and/or removed. There are a number of reasons that breasts might need to be removed from the body of a patient and one of the most important reasons is the desire to prevent a disease from occurring or spreading any further in the body. This is true for patients who test positive for the BRCA gene (which means the person is genetically predisposed to having breast cancer).
In general, the breast reconstruction process involves the rebuilding of the breast almost immediately after a mastectomy is performed. The process of rebuilding the breast can include placing a breast implant in the body or free tissue transfer which is a procedure where tissue is moved from the abdomen or the butt of the patient to the area of the breast (via a microscope). In addition, surgeons also perform “skin-sparing mastectomies” where they work to save all of the nipple and skin.
The placement of breast implants is one of the most popular methods and it might involve the performance of two steps or stages, First, the surgeon uses a tissue expander to temporarily stretch the tissue in the targeted area. Then, the tissue expander is replaced with a breast implant that is placed in the body. Surgeons can also decide to place adjustable breast implants in the body in order to avoid putting too much pressure on the flaps of skin.
Plastic surgeons can also augment the breast reconstruction results through fat grafting to the breasts. Excess fat is removed from another part of the body of the patient through the use of liposuction. Then, the removed fat is processed and purified so it can be safely injected into the targeted area of the body. Once the breasts are reconstructed, the surgeon can use fat injections to address any type of asymmetry or irregularities to the breasts.
Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy – What are the Risks?
The first thing that patients need to know is that every person is different, which means that not every patient has the same risks as other people. The type of risks, as well as the extent of the risks, depend on the health of the patient. If the person is in overall poor health, the wound on the body might not heal properly. In turn, this can impact the tissue and the breast implant might need to be removed. There is also a chance that the skin of the patient will not be able to be saved if an extensive mastectomy is being performed.
Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy – How to Find a Surgeon
If a person wants to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, they will need to perform proper research to find the right doctor to perform their surgery. Patients should choose a plastic surgeon who is familiar with breast surgery including reconstruction of the breasts. The surgeon should also be board-certified and experienced in performing the procedure.
The next step is to schedule a consultation appointment with the doctor in order to learn more about the procedure. This appointment is also the time that the surgeon will examine the health of the patient as well as the current condition of the breasts. The doctor will need to make sure that the patient is in good health including being healthy enough to undergo the surgery. The surgeon will also make sure the patient has realistic expectations when it comes to the results they can expect to see after breast reconstruction surgery.
Patients should ask to see “before and after” photos of actual patents treated by the surgeon in the past. The photos will give the person a better understanding of the type of results that can be achieved and also help to increase their confidence in the abilities of the surgeon.
Finally, the consultation appointment is also the perfect opportunity to chat with the doctor and share any concerns or ask any questions about the surgery. It is important for a person to be educated and knowledgeable about breast reconstruction before making the final decision to have the treatment.