Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for a woman who has lost a breast due to cancer or other disease. Reconstruction of a breast that has been partially or completely removed is possible through a combination of plastic surgery techniques that not only creates a new breast but can also dramatically improve a woman's self-image, self-confidence and quality of life. The results of breast reconstruction can be relatively natural in appearance and feel; however a reconstructed breast will never look or feel exactly the same as the breast that was removed.
Breast reconstruction typically involves several procedures performed in multiple stages. It can begin at the same time as the mastectomy or be delayed until a patient has healed from mastectomy and recovered from any additional cancer treatments that may be necessary. It is important that a woman feel ready for the emotional adjustment involved; much like losing a breast, it takes time for a woman to accept the results of a breast reconstruction. The best results are obtained when the plastic surgeon is involved before the mastectomy is ever performed. Working in conjunction with a general surgeon, the plastic surgeon can help design either the lumpectomy incisions or mastectomy incisions to allow for an enhanced cosmetic result post-operatively.
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several reconstructive plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy and include but are not limited to :
- Flap techniques that reposition a woman's own muscle, fat and skin to create a breast mound (usually require several days in the hospital)
- Tissue expansion that stretches healthy skin to provide coverage for a breast implant (requires the least amount of down time)
- Surgical placement of a breast implant to create a breast mound
- Grafting and other specialized techniques to create a nipple and areola
Where only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed. In addition, a breast lift, reduction or augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry in the size and position of both breasts.
Through the advocacy efforts of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and breast cancer support groups, insurance companies are now required by law to provide coverage for breast reconstruction and related procedures to the opposite breast. Pre-certification may be required.
Many of the breast reconstructive procedures can be performed in the privacy and safety of our accredited outpatient surgical facility, The SurgiCenter.
If you have any questions please call our office at (859) 263-8083 or request an appointment