Breast reconstruction can help restore self-esteem. Reconstruction can be performed using a number of methods that include using an implant, a woman's own body tissue, or a combination of the two. The latest surgical techniques make it possible to create a breast that closely matches the natural breast.
- A common method of breast reconstruction combines skin expansion and an implant. A balloon expander is inserted beneath the skin and muscle and it is gradually inflated with saline over a period of several weeks to stretch the skin.
- Once the skin is stretched, the expander is replaced with an implant during a second surgery.
- Flap reconstruction, another method of breast reconstruction, utilizes a woman's own tissue, usually from her abdomen, back or buttocks, to create a new breast. This tissue flap is either tunneled under the skin or surgically removed and transplanted to the chest area.
- Breast reconstruction can be performed at the time of the mastectomy. Or, it can be delayed for months or even years after the mastectomy.
- Surgery usually takes two to three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Patients can return home the same day.
- Following breast reconstruction, the nipple and areola are constructed in a later procedure. The nipple is made from the woman's own tissue and the areola is created with tattooing.
Depending on their job requirements, most patients can expect to return to work within one to two weeks. Patients should avoid lifting anything over their heads for about a week. Most women need to avoid strenuous activity for several weeks, but can return to their normal routines within four to six weeks.
In cases of surgery on a single breast, women with sagging breasts may opt to have the opposite breast lifted or enhanced. This helps to achieve better symmetry with the reconstructed breast.
If you are concerned about the cost of any of the breast enhancement Procedures listed above, please read about our additional financing options.