Jefferson K. Kilpatrick, MD | Russell B. Stokes, MD | Hannah Parbst, Esthetician
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy or be delayed until a later date.
Although breast reconstruction can rebuild your breast, the results are highly variable:
- A reconstructed breast will not have the same sensation and feel as the breast it replaces.
- Visible incision lines will always be present on the breast, whether from reconstruction or mastectomy.
- Certain surgical techniques will leave incision lines at the donor site, commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen or buttocks.
A note about symmetry: If only one breast is affected, it alone may be reconstructed. In addition, a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation may be recommended for the opposite breast to improve symmetry of the size and position of both breasts.
Breast reconstruction generally falls into two categories: implant based reconstruction or flap reconstruction.
- Implant reconstruction relies on breast implants to help form a new breast mound.
- Flap reconstruction uses the patient’s own tissue from another part of the body to form a new breast.
There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing which option is best:
- Type of mastectomy
- Cancer treatments
- Patient’s body type
What to expect during your consultation.
The success and safety of your breast reconstruction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries
- The options available in breast reconstruction surgery
- The likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications
- The course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon, including procedures to achieve breast symmetry
- How your pain will be managed post-operatively
Your surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Examine your breasts, and take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality, and placement of nipples and areolae
- Take photographs for your medical record
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of breast reconstruction and any risks or potential complications