Expectations of Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a radical procedure in which the entire breast is removed. With rising breast cancer rates, this procedure has become more common. This procedure carries with it physical and emotional scars. However, for many women diagnosed with breast cancer, it is a life saving procedure. The loss of any body part is devastating, but for women the loss of their breasts is particularly devastating. The advancements in plastic surgery offer women a solution with breast reconstruction after mastectomy.

While many breast augmentation procedures have become quite routine, reconstruction after a mastectomy may require several steps and procedures. Tissue and skin are removed during the mastectomy. In order to perform breast reconstruction and insert an implant, the skin needs to be stretched. This is accomplished by inserting a tissue expander in the breast area. The tissue expander is then filled with fluid. This process is repeated over several visits. During each visit, additional fluid is added and over time the skin will gradually stretch. Most women will experience moderate pain and discomfort during this process.

Once this skin is stretched to the desired amount, the implants are inserted. The patient will have to wait a few weeks until the implant surgery is healed. At this point, it is time to add the areola and nipples. The areola is the dark circle around the nipple. The areola is tattooed and the nipple is recreated by removing tissue from the abdominal flap or the back of the patient. This tissue will be tattooed to match the color of the areola.

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is a lengthy and arduous process. It is best to review all of the detailed breast reconstruction info before making a decision. Many plastic surgeons offer free consultations to women who have had a mastectomy. During a thorough consultation, you receive the details of the systematic process for your reconstruction. You will also review before and after photos of reconstructive surgeries. While some reconstructions are remarkable, most results do not create the level of appearance before the mastectomy. At this point, you will have to decide if you feel this arduous process is worth time and pain.

Choosing to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy is a personal choice. It is critical to obtain the proper information before making a final decision.

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