Often, women face some sort of defect following a breast cancer surgery, whether that be a mastectomy or lumpectomy. In many cases, this leads women to choose breast reconstruction following their surgery. Breast reconstruction can offer a sense of closure and healing following cancer treatment. The surgery allows women to experience improved self-confidence and move on from a difficult time in their lives. Several techniques of breast reconstruction may be used depending on the degree of natural tissue loss, the quality of the skin in the area, the desired results, and other factors. At Lewisburg Plastic Surgery, our expert plastic surgeons offer breast reconstruction using the expander reconstruction method.
Expander breast reconstructions are performed in multiple steps. In the first operation, the expander is placed below the skin and chest muscles. Once in place, the expander is gradually filled with saline in our office through an external fill port. This gently expands the tissues, allowing for the final breast reconstruction to take place without damaging the skin. In a second surgery, the expander is removed and replaced with a breast implant, which may be saline or silicone. As needed, your plastic surgeon will also complete a nipple areolar reconstruction in a third surgical procedure. The details of your breast reconstruction can be determined during a consultation at Lewisburg Plastic Surgery.
Some initial discomfort is expected following breast reconstruction, which can be treated using oral medication as directed by your plastic surgeon. Sutures are typically removed about 7-10 days after the surgery, and most patients can return to normal routines after about a week of downtime. Strenuous activity such as exercise can be resumed about three weeks after the surgery.
The ideal result after a breast reconstruction is a natural-looking and symmetrical breast. This should allow patients to feel more comfortable in their appearance and have an easier time with the fit of their clothes. During your consultation, you can discuss your ideal results with your plastic surgeon.
The typical candidate for a breast reconstruction is recovering from breast cancer and has had a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Most patients should have some natural breast tissue remaining and good skin elasticity for the expander surgery. Patients should also be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery and healing process. Alongside your other healthcare providers, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your overall health and consider your goals for the procedure to determine a treatment plan.
In a majority of cases, breast reconstruction is covered by health insurance. Some variation in coverage is possible, so it is best to consult your health insurance provider to determine costs. As needed, cost estimates for each patient can be provided during a consultation.
Note: The specific risks and suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.
Following or alongside a breast reconstruction, patients may choose additional enhancements. For example, some patients opt for a breast implant or breast lift to the unaffected breast in order to complement the reconstructed breast. This option can be discussed during your consultation.