Breast reconstruction refers to a surgical procedure that aims at restoring the shape of your breast. You can decide to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy which is called immediate reconstruction or else the process can be done later in what is known as delayed reconstruction.
There are different types of breast reconstruction but the one that involves breast implants is a difficult procedure done by a plastic surgeon. This article discusses how you can prepare for breast reconstruction.
Preparing for breast reconstruction
Before going for mastectomy, your doctor may advise you to consult a plastic surgeon. In such a case, look for a plastic surgeon who has the required experience and is board certified in breast reconstruction. Ideally, your plastic surgeon and breast surgeon should work together to make sure that they can create a suitable breast surgical treatment and reconstruction plan for you.
Your Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Elisabeth Potter, MD will take this opportunity to let you know the available surgical options. This includes telling you everything you need to know about diep flap reconstruction, and showing you pictures of people who have had various types of breast reconstruction.
Remember that the specific type of breast reconstruction like diep flap reconstruction usually depends on your health condition, body type, and cancer treatment.
Besides, your plastic surgeon can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of doing breast surgery on the opposite breast, though it might be healthy. This aims at matching the size and shape of the reconstructed breast.
Regardless of the type of breast reconstruction, you need to follow the specific instructions your doctor may recommend to prepare for the procedure. This can include a guide on drinking and eating, smoking, and current medications.
Type of breast reconstruction
Breast reconstruction starts with the inserting of a tissue expander or breast implant, which can be done at the time of mastectomy or during a later procedure. Quite often, breast reconstruction needs several operations. So what is a breast implant? Well, this is a teardrop-shaped or round silicone shell that contains saltwater or silicone gel.
Therefore, a plastic surgeon usually inserts this implant in front or behind the muscles in your chest. Implants that are inserted in front of this muscle can be held in position by a tissue known as the acellular dermal matrix. Over time, your body replaces the tissue with collagen.
While some women can have a permanent breast implant during the mastectomy, others may need a two-stage procedure, which involves a tissue expander before placing a permanent implant.
Some of the silicone implants your plastic surgeon can suggest to you include the cohesive gel and diep flap reconstruction. Cohesive gel silicone implants have a low rupture rate and are thick enough to provide the required firmness.
But for women who don’t feel comfortable placing foreign material into their bodies, diep flap reconstruction can be the best option for them. This is because a surgeon uses fat, skin, and some of the blood vessels from your lower belly to rebuild your breast.
This procedure doesn’t require the use of muscles, leading to a quicker recovery. Even better, there is a lower risk of losing your abdominal muscle strength.