Breast reconstructions are performed on patients who have undergone surgery to remove breast cancer or other diseases. The purpose of this procedure is to rebuild a breast that has been removed during surgery, and is usually done in conjunction with a breast removal so the patient doesn't have to undergo seeing herself with no breast at all.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
• You have lost a breast due to a medical illness such as breast cancer.
• You have lost a breast because of an accident.
Skin expansion is the most common method used today for breast reconstruction. When this procedure is performed, a balloon-like expander is placed beneath your skin and chest muscle and periodically filled with a salt-water based saline solution. The constant increase in volume of this balloon causes your breast skin to stretch and increase in size. When the breast reaches a size proportional to its partner, the balloon is removed and a more permanent implant is placed inside. The nipple and areola are then reconstructed using tissue from other parts of the body.
Flap reconstruction is an alternative approach to an implant, and it involves the creation of a skin flap using tissue taken from other parts of the female body, such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks. The tissue is tunneled underneath the skin to the front of the chest, creating a pocket for the implant - or in some cases creating the breast mound itself.
RECOVERING FROM THIS SURGERY
Recovery from a breast reconstruction procedure can last up to six months. The reconstructed breast will not have its normal sensation, but in time, some feeling may return. You are likely to feel some sort of pain or discomfort following the procedure, but this will be taken care of with prescribed medicine. The resulting scars will fade over time, but will never disappear entirely.