What is a Breast Reconstruction surgery?
A breast reconstruction surgery is a surgical procedure which involves substituting the breast tissues and breast skin, or removing the nipples, in order to restore symmetry, size and shape to your breasts.
It usually includes substituting the breast tissues and skin with either autologous tissues or artificial implants made from a synthetic material.
How is Breast Reconstruction surgery performed?
There are a few different ways in which a breast reconstruction procedure is performed and the type of procedure is chosen by the patient and the doctor depending on the particular and individual expectation.
Below are the different types of surgeries that are helpful in breast reconstruction:
Breast Implants (Tissue Expander)
This technique is the most popular and commonly used technique for breast reconstruction. In this the surgeon will use a temporary silastic implant (tissue expander) by placing it underneath the pectoralis major muscle in the chest.
Once this tissue expander is implanted the surgeon will be required to inflate it with a sterile saline solution during a period of a few weeks to enhance the size of the implant which results in the covering of the breast tissue to also adjust and expand. After the surgeon is satisfied that the tissue expander has inflated the covering tissues to a desired size the temporary implant will be removed and replaced with a permanent artificial implant. After the size of the breast has increased to the desired volume the surgeon will be required to perform another surgical procedure to reset the areola and nipples accordingly.
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This is the next most common breast reconstruction surgical procedure in the world. It does not require an artificial implant but uses tissues harvested from other parts of the patient’s body as graft tissues and the blood vessels are connected to the implanted tissues for natural growth to take place. The graft tissues are usually harvested from the patient’s back, abdomen, thigh or buttocks.
This is a latest technique for breast reconstruction. In this laser scanning and 3-D printing technology is used to create a bespoke silicone mold that is used during the surgery. This mold is helpful in shaping and placement of the flap of harvested skin to achieve better symmetry in the reconstructed breast.
One-Step Breast Reconstruction
This type of surgery is advised when the patient’s breast skin is maximum preserved after a mastectomy. This procedure involves placing an implant immediately, under the pectoralis major muscles in the chest, after a mastectomy is done.
What precautions need to be taken after a Breast Reconstruction surgery?
After a breast reconstruction surgery you might feel a little soreness and pain in the chest area for which the doctor will prescribe suitable painkillers.
You will need to avoid using your arms to lift any extra weight, even your own, while getting up from the bed or sitting down.
Doctors usually insert an IV for fluid diet as well as a catheter to avoid having to walk to the restroom.
The doctor may also insert a drain tube at the site of the incision to get rid of any excess fluid that might get collected in your chest.
The doctor will best advise you on application of medications (if any) as well as about changing the bandages of the incision area.
A breast reconstruction procedure may take a longer while to get completed and may be done in multiple sessions, depending in the condition of your physical health and the extent of the reconstruction as well as the type of procedure being performed.
A breast reconstruction procedure is very useful after a mastectomy as it not only enhances and improves your physical appearance it also helps boost your self-esteem and confidence to a new level. Breast reconstructive procedure ensures that your breast’s original symmetry, shape and size is regained in a better way or even to have an enhanced breast size if the patient wishes so.