Breast Reconstruction refers to Plastic Surgery techniques used to restore the breasts to near normal size, shape and appearance following mastectomy, lumpectomy or congenital deformities. Typically, multiple procedures are performed in stages and can either begin at the time of mastectomy or be delayed until a later date.
If only one breast is affected, that breast alone may be reconstructed while a lift, reduction or augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of both breasts.
Breast reconstruction falls into three categories:
- Implant-based reconstruction – relies on breast implants to form a new breast mound.
- Flap (or autologous) reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue from another part of the body to form a new breast.
- Hybrid reconstruction – involves a combination of a flap and an implant.
Candidates for breast reconstruction should:
- Be able to cope well with the diagnosis and treatment
- Not have additional medical conditions that may impair healing
- Have a positive outlook and realistic goals for restoring your breast and body image
Factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a reconstruction include:
- Type of mastectomy
- Cancer treatment regimen
- Patient’s body habitus
Results of breast reconstruction are highly variable:
- A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation or feel as the original breast.
- Incisions will always be present on the breast from the mastectomy and reconstruction.
- Incisions may also be visible at donor sites, commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.
These trade-offs are felt by most patients to be small compared to the large improvement in their quality of life and the ability to look and feel whole. The final results help lessen the physical and emotional impact of mastectomy.
Choosing your surgeon and following instructions are keys to the success of your reconstruction. Doctor Gbulie is board-certified with extensive experience in breast reconstruction. He will go over options with you and guide you through the selected procedure with specific instructions on how to care for yourself during the entire reconstruction and recovery process.
Click here to read a Breast reconstruction Brochure PDF.