If you have undergone a mastectomy and want to restore the natural look of your breast – or you’re simply unhappy with prior implantation – you may want to consider breast reconstruction.
But before deciding whether to have a breast rebuilt, you should take a little time to learn how breast reconstruction may affect you – emotionally as well as physically.
There are two main types of breast reconstruction. Implant reconstruction uses a saline or silicone implant to create your new breast shape. Autologous or flap reconstruction involves taking tissue from another area of your body to create your new breast form. Although, in some cases, an implant and flap can be combined.
Besides the aesthetic advantages of breast reconstruction, the decision to go through this surgery should rest on several factors:
- How important is it to you to restore a permanent breast shape? Instead of having reconstruction, you can use a wearable artificial breast prosthesis. Then again, you may feel that wearing, removing, and maintaining a prosthetic breast is inconvenient and would prefer a reconstructed breast.
- Do you want your breasts to look balanced following a mastectomy on one breast? You may want your breasts to have a natural, matching appearance in bras, swimsuits or with a plunging neckline. You may see some difference between your rebuilt breast and the other when topless, but in clothing, they appear virtually identical.
- How physically active are you? Full range of motion following reconstruction surgery is important to women who are athletic or have a physically demanding job. Implants that are placed under or over the chest muscle can be less comfortable and restrict range of motion, particularly if the area eventually hardens. Also, certain flap procedures that cut through muscle in the back or lower abdomen have been known to cause weakness or loss of function. However, newer DIEP and SIEA flap techniques reduce these risks by preserving muscle structure, removing only tissue that is needed to rebuild the breast.
- Do you have a medical condition that might affect your ability to heal following surgery? It may take your body longer to heal from breast reconstruction if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, circulatory problems, or a bleeding disorder. Also, smoking and drinking can hamper the healing process, so you would need to quit both in the meantime.
- Are you prepared for the possibility that breast reconstruction necessitates other procedures over time? For example, if you have large breasts, reconstruction might create a smaller breast, requiring subsequent reduction surgery on the other breast to achieve the natural, balanced look you desire.
When considering breast reconstruction, prioritize your goals as follows:
First and foremost, receive the most effective anti-cancer therapy.
Second, choose a technique with your doctor that preserves your ability to function fully and comfortably after recovery.
Third, focus on the way the reconstructed breast looks and feels in terms of size, shape, and proportion with your other breast.
Lastly, consider the timing, cost, availability, and length of recovery.
Keep in mind that while breast reconstruction can rebuild the shape of your breast, it won’t restore its sensation. Although the skin covering the reconstructed breast can become more sensitive with time, it won’t feel exactly the same as before surgery.
If you are interested in a breast reconstruction and want to talk to a plastic surgeon, the MAXiM Breast Surgery is the right place for you. Our experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience with these surgeries. Call (646) 475-2099 today to make an appointment.