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General Breast Reconstruction If you're having breast reconstruction, please post your questions and experiences in this forum.


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Breast Reconstruction Info (courtesy the Plastic Surgery Group of Albany)

Old 04-24-2012, 07:04 PM
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Breast Reconstruction Info (courtesy the Plastic Surgery Group of Albany)

This information is courtesy of the Plastic Surgery Group of Albany.
(Original article located here.)

Breast Reconstruction


Breast reconstruction surgery following the removal of a breast because of cancer (mastectomy) can be one of the most confidence-inspiring surgeries a woman can undergo. The diagnosis of breast cancer can be both frightening and devastating. However, with early detection and treatment, and subsequent breast reconstruction in Albany by one of the experienced plastic surgeons at The Plastic Surgery Group, a woman can reclaim her natural shape and restore confidence in her health and appearance.

The Procedure

At The Plastic Surgery Group in Albany, breast reconstruction surgery can either be performed immediately following the mastectomy or some time later. In certain cases, a woman may want to delay breast reconstruction surgery until she has come to terms with her breast cancer diagnosis and has had the time to discuss all of her options with both her surgeon and plastic surgeon.


There have been many new advancements and reconstructive techniques developed in the area of breast reconstruction, and your plastic surgeon will explain these to you in detail during your consultation. Your plastic surgeon will decide which approach will be the most beneficial to your desired goal, and will work closely with your other doctors to determine the optimum course of action. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon any questions or concerns you may have. It is very important to have a comfortable, open and knowledgeable understanding of this procedure that can help restore your confidence.


The different methods of breast reconstruction include:


Skin Expansion with an Insert


This is a very common type of breast reconstruction surgery that involves the placement of a balloon expander under the skin and chest muscle. The expander is injected with a saline solution over a period of weeks or months to stretch the skin in the area of the breast reconstruction. Sometimes the expanders are removed and replaced by a permanent breast implant much like with breast augmentation. Other times the expander is permanent. In the event that a woman's skin does not need to be expanded, a permanent implant is placed with no need for the saline-solution expander.




Flap Reconstruction


Flap reconstruction is a method that uses tissue from the back, stomach, or the buttocks that, in some cases holds the implant, and in other cases provides the basis for the new breast without an implant. In some cases, this tissue is moved under the skin to the breast area. In other cases, the tissue is removed and then relocated to the breast area.


Your plastic surgeon will discuss each of these different approaches with you during the pre-surgery consultation.


Depending on the type of breast reconstruction that your plastic surgeon determines is the best for you, you will most likely have more than one surgery to obtain the most natural results. Generally, the first surgery is the most complex with subsequent surgeries to replace the saline expander, place a permanent implant or recreate the nipple and areola. Your plastic surgeon will discuss all of this with you in detail prior to your surgery.




Recovering


Depending on the type and extent of your breast reconstruction surgery, you may be in the hospital for several days. In many cases, a drainage tube will be utilized to eliminate excess fluids from the operative area immediately following the surgery. In most cases, stitches will be removed in a little more than a week's time. It's normal if you feel some tiredness and soreness for a week or 2 following your surgery. Your plastic surgeon can prescribe medication that will help you feel more comfortable.


In general, most women need about 6 weeks time to feel back to normal following breast reconstruction surgery. Your plastic surgeon will tell you when to begin stretching exercises. It's important to be gentle with yourself during this recuperative period. Avoid lifting, sports, and sex for up to 6 weeks following your surgery.


Some feeling may return to the restored breast, but it will not be as sensitive as a natural one. Also, it will take some time for scars to begin to fade. Eventually, they will become much less noticeable. Your plastic surgeon will make every effort to minimize the scarring during the surgery.




Potential Risks and Complications


All surgery comes with some risks including the development of an infection around the surgical area or an adverse reaction to anesthesia. If these rare situations occur, they can be treated by medications prescribed by your plastic surgeon.


A common complication after breast reconstruction surgery is the development of capsular contraction which happens if the scar around the implant area becomes tight and puts pressure around the implant. Capsular contraction can be corrected by eliminating the scar tissue, and in some cases, replacing the implant itself.




Common Questions about Breast Reconstruction
What type of anesthesia will be used for my breast reconstruction surgery?

In almost all cases, the initial breast reconstruction surgery is performed using a general anesthesia. You will be completely asleep and comfortable during the procedure. Often, follow-up surgeries can be performed using a local anesthesia or sedative combination to ensure your comfort.
How long will I be hospitalized?

In most cases the hospital stay after breast reconstruction surgery is between 2 and 5 days, but it depends on the type of surgery you have. Discuss this with your plastic surgeon.
Will my insurance cover this procedure?

Yes, most insurance companies cover breast reconstruction. Check with your insurance carrier and discuss this with your plastic surgeon.
Will an implant affect the results of mammograms?

It's important to go to an imaging center that has technicians who are trained and experienced in the special methods that are required to achieve accurate mammograms when there is a breast implant in place. Your plastic surgeon can recommend these types of imaging centers.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:43 PM
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Breast reconstruction is surgery to rebuild a breast's shape after a mastectomy. It cannot give a woman back her breast - a reconstructed breast

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