Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
A woman’s fight against breast cancer can be an extremely difficult and unimaginably challenging point in her life. When she overcomes this disease, she deserves to feel whole again–a strong woman who didn’t let cancer beat her. Women choosing mastectomies to prevent breast cancer also need reconstructive options. At Midsota Plastic Surgeons, we strive to give women the tools they need to take back control of their lives and feel like themselves again with breast reconstruction surgery.
Breast Reconstruction at a Glance
Surgery Time: Varies per patient
Recovery Time: Varies per patient
Is Breast Reconstruction for Me?
You get to choose if breast reconstruction is for you. In 1998, Congress passed the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act which requires that most health insurers cover reconstructive surgery after mastectomies. Many of these women choose to undergo a mastectomy of the involved breast, or mastectomies on both sides, to beat the disease. However, losing a breast can leave a woman feeling scarred, self-conscious, and less feminine. Reconstructive breast surgery is designed with one goal in mind–to restore the breasts, so women may continue feel confident, sexy, and strong after beating breast cancer.
There are various breast reconstruction options available. During your consultation, we will discuss the options available for your situation and create a customized procedure plan to help restore your figure and renew your confidence.
What are the Benefits of Breast Reconstruction Surgery?
Breast reconstruction surgery can be one of the most life-changing plastic surgery procedures because of the empowerment it can give women to reestablish a sense of their former selves. The goal of breast reconstruction at Midsota Plastic Surgeons is to provide both women who have had breast cancer and women choosing mastectomies to prevent breast cancer with the positive option of breast restoration.
How many Reconstructive Surgeries Will be Needed?
Since it is more challenging to replace the breast than to remove it, breast reconstruction most often involves more than one surgery.
When is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Performed?
Breast reconstruction can be started either at the time a mastectomy is performed or at a later point. Most women can choose. For some women, particularly those who will or may need radiation therapy, it is preferable to start breast reconstruction after cancer care is completed.
How is Breast Reconstruction Performed?
Several reconstructive options are available through Midsota Plastic Surgeons, from rebuilding the breast using a woman’s own tissue to reconstructing the breasts with underlying breast implants.
The most common source of natural tissue to reconstruct a woman’s breast is her abdomen. The surgeon uses the fatty tissue from the abdomen to replace the lost breast volume, and borrows skin from the abdomen to replace skin removed at the time of the mastectomy. There are a few different surgical techniques for transferring tissue for breast reconstruction from the abdomen to the chest with blood supply, so it survives. The traditional TRAM flap procedure leaves it attached to the body by the rectus abdominis muscle.
A newer option for breast reconstruction is the DIEP flap. This procedure allows the muscles in the abdomen to remain in place and actually utilizes the dominant blood supply to the abdominal tissue. Dr. Houle has been performing DIEP flap breast reconstruction since 2006.
Implant-based breast reconstruction replaces the lost breast volume with underlying silicone or saline breast implants. Reconstruction begins with placement of a tissue expander behind the musculature of the chest wall at the first surgery. A series of appointments to add fluid to the expander prepares the woman for her second surgery which is replacing the expander with a breast implant.
How Long Does Breast Reconstruction Surgery Take?
Because every breast reconstruction procedure is so carefully tailored to each woman’s unique circumstances, surgery times aren’t predictable from woman to woman.
How Long is Breast Reconstruction Recovery?
The recovery period following a breast reconstruction will require patience. The length of recovery varies from one woman to another depending on where she is in her breast cancer care, whether the mastectomy was earlier or coordinated with the first reconstructive surgery, what type of breast reconstruction was chosen, and her overall health. We will provide you with detailed care instructions. It may take two weeks to two months before you are able to return to work, depending on your specific situation.
How long will my breast reconstruction results last?
The results of your natural tissue breast reconstruction are permanent, so you can enjoy your newly-restored figure for many years to come. Women having implant-based breast reconstruction experience the relief of a restored breast as well. However, it is important to remember that, like women without breast cancer having breast augmentation, implants are not intended to be permanent. If an implant needs to be replaced, or you want to revise a previous reconstruction for personal reasons, you can undergo a revision of your breast reconstruction surgery.
Midsota Breast Reconstruction Patient Reviews
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Our goal at Midsota Plastic Surgeons is for you to walk out our doors feeling refreshed and more confident than when you walked in. Our dedicated team of Minnesota plastic surgeons and caring staff put your safety first and will work closely with you on your journey to your new self. For more information on any of our procedures, or to schedule a private consultation, please give us a call at one of our locations in St. Cloud, Alexandria, Brainerd, or Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.